“The Government must delay the progress of the Arms Legislation Bill to account for a four-month extension to the Royal Commission into the Christchurch terror attacks”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The Royal Commission will now report back to the Government in April 2020, while the Arms Legislation Bill is likely to pass into law a month earlier, in time for the first anniversary of Christchurch.
“If the Government's primary concern was public safety, it would wait, but it seems determined to press on without the benefit of the Royal Commission’s findings.
“ACT has always maintained that any changes to our firearm laws must wait for the Royal Commission. Submitters on the Arms Legislation Bill have been virtually unanimous on this point.
“The Royal Commission may well show this legislation has not solved the problem. A submission from the Federation of Islamic Associations speculated that the real problem was that Police illegally granted the alleged Christchurch terrorist a firearms licence.
“If that is true, this legislation will not have solved the problem, but will have placed significant costs on the law-abiding firearms community. That is not to mention other parts of the legislation that may make us less safe.
“Submitters have urged the Committee to consider: that the proposed regulations for clubs would cause them to fold, driving activity underground; that a gun register, if leaked, would become a steal-to-order list for criminals; and that people would forego medical treatment if they thought their affairs could be reported by medical professionals to Police under the Bill’s provisions.
“If this Bill was truly about public safety, the Government would wait for the findings of the Royal Commission and then consider its options. But the Prime Minister seems determined to pass legislation on the one year anniversary of the Christchurch terror attacks. That speaks volumes.”