Monday, 15 March 2021

Time’s up for softly, softly approach to gun crime


“A concerted effort involving law changes and far greater resources is needed to turn soaring levels of gun crime around,” says ACT Party Firearms Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Some of the unintended consequences of the Government’s two pieces of rushed firearms reform legislation are now starting to be realised.

Gun crime has soared to a new peak while Police have spent two years unfairly focused on demonising law abiding gun owners through a completely ineffective buyback process.

“ACT has been proposing real solutions to the scourge of gun crime for some time, and the Government needs to get over its pride and start picking these suggestions up.

“First, they need to fix up the law that on paper suggests gang members can have their firearms licenses removed on the basis of membership or association with a gang, but the Police says won’t stand up in court if they try and use it.

“How many firearms have these wrongfully licensed gang members been purchasing? You can bet this is being used as a channel to supply guns to other gang members.

“Second, give Operation Tauwhiro – the Government’s fig leaf anti-gang policy that will run for only six months and has no additional resources allocated to it – some actual resource and some teeth by picking up ACT’s proposed amendment to the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009.

“That would mean if Police find illegal firearms at an unlawful, gang-run premises their assets can be seized. This would hit the gangs where it hurts them most.

“Meanwhile the Prime Minister was wringing her hands on the radio this morning and saying gun crime is going to take some time to turn around, while also doing what she tends to do when things get sticky, blame Australia.

“Her problem is deportees from Australia are not the source of growing gang numbers she likes to claim they are; they make up just 1.7 percent of the 46 percent increase in gang membership over the past three years from 5300 to 7800.

“It is Jacinda Ardern’s total lack of a coherent strategy to tackle violent and organised crime that’s behind this growing problem. Fronting up to that with fresh policy and some resolve to tackle it head-on is way overdue.”

ENDS