“Minister of Police Chris Hipkins should stop thinking about extending firearms license renewals and just do it,” says ACT’s Firearms Law Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“I asked the Minister in Parliament today whether the Government would extend firearms licenses due to the massive processing delays that mean licensed firearms owners are left waiting an age for renewal. He said he “wouldn’t rule those sorts of measures out at this point.”

“The time for action on this is now. 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.

“This is a result of the rushed firearms laws creating more administration. People who have previously been proved to be fit and proper firearms holders are having to move their firearms off their property while they wait months for their licences to be renewed.

“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.

“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.

“Now the Minister has acknowledged the problem, he needs to act to fix it. A good start would be to extend licenses while the licensing regime is fixed so law-abiding firearms owners aren’t left waiting months.

“The Minister should make this practical change right now. It doesn’t make sense for licensed firearms owners to have to move their firearms or break the law just because the Police can’t keep up with licensing.”

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Nicole McKee