“I have sent Minister of Police Chris Hipkins a letter calling on him to issue an extension for firearm licensing renewals in light of massive backlogs,” says ACT’s Firearms Law Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“There are thousands of people who have been waiting up to a year for their license to be processed, some are still waiting after two years.

“The situation is out of control and becoming dangerous. Licensed firearms owners are having to take their guns out of their safes, place them in the boot of their car, and drive all around the country to store them in the safes of other licensed firearms owners to avoid breaking the law.

“The delays have gone on so long that some people who have been holding firearms for others whose licenses expired, are now reaching a point where there own licenses are set to expire.

“At this stage the concern has to be whether this process is creating more safety issues than it is fixing. The focus needs to be on safer communities.

"I asked the Minister in Parliament two weeks ago whether the Government would extend firearms licenses due to the massive processing delays. He said he "wouldn’t rule those sorts of measures out at this point." He needs to act now.

“People who are applying and paying for licenses are not criminals, they just want to gather food for their families, carry out pest control or participate in sport.

“They should not be punished because Police have been unable to process their licenses in time. There should be an extension while the licensing regime is fixed so law-abiding firearms owners can safely look after their firearms until processing can catch up.”

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Nicole McKee