Thursday, 3 December 2020

Police Minister: Gun register won’t stop gangs

“The Police Minister has admitted that a firearms register will do nothing to stop gang violence”, says ACT Firearms Law Reform Spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Poto Williams appeared to have no real answers in the House today to the growing level of gun violence occurring on her watch.

“We see on an almost weekly basis a new firearms incident, including criminals and gangs shooting at our frontline police officers.

Last year, 402 people on the National Gang List were charged with a total of 711 firearms offences. That’s a 54 percent increase in people charged compared with five years ago and a 60 percent increase in the number of charges.

“Labour’s answer has been to target law-abiding New Zealanders. But that will do nothing to stop rampant gang violence in places like Northland and the Police Minister knows it.

“I asked the Minister today how a firearms register would reduce firearms violence, and whether she expected criminals to register firearms. Her reply was: ‘I don’t expect criminals to do anything lawful.’

“In the wake of our nation’s tragedy in Christchurch, the Government targeted the wrong group of New Zealanders by scapegoating law-abiding firearms owners.

“The new gun legislation, nor the buyback, has or will made a difference to the number of illegal firearms in circulation.

“Labour should be going after the gangs. We need to get smarter and hit them where it hurts.

“ACT will amend the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 (the Act) so that if Police find illegal firearms at an unlawful, gang-run operation, we’ll seize their assets.

“Labour has no plan to deal with growing gun violence perpetrated by gangs.

“New Zealanders deserve to be safe and secure, but violent gangs are a scourge on our communities. ACT’s plan to get smarter in dealing with the gangs is a step towards safer communities.”