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National's Collins wants tougher action on gangs with guns

National's Judith Collins wants tougher action on gangs with guns

Te Aniwa Hurihanganui, Te Manu Korihi Reporter

National Party MP Judith Collins is urging the government to crack down on gangs with illegal firearms by giving the police greater powers to raid gang homes.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

It follows recent comments made by Waikato Mongrel Mob president, Sonny Fatu, who said the gang would not be handing in their firearms under the new gun laws.

Patched members of the Mongrel Mob stood side by side performing haka outside a Hamilton mosque in a display of solidarity following the Christchurch terror attacks.

But days later its Waikato president, Sonny Fatu, said the gang would not be handing in their guns to authorities under the new gun laws.

The remarks have left many MPs, including National's Judith Collins, reeling.

"We also saw people like gang members coming out and saying they were with the Muslim New Zealanders and then someone asked them the question, 'what about giving up your illegal firearms?'

"Well I tell you what ... best way forward is to give the police the powers, give them the fire power to do it, and get on and take them."

At the Arms Amendment Bill's first reading in Parliament yesterday, she urged the government to consider firearm prohibition orders against gangs.

"One of the things I thought was most important was the issue around firearm prohibition orders, to enable to police to go into gang houses and seize firearms, whether they know for certain they are there or not.

"I'm sick and tired of listening to people emoting about how they're feeling sorry, but they're not going to give up their firearms."

National MP Mark Mitchell agreed.

"The fact that they were flouting the authority that this Parliament has, that this country has, in saying that they are not going to observe the legislation that this Parliament is passing.

"I 100 percent support in taking the strongest possible line that we can against gangs."

But Mongrel Mob member Tai Pairama said many gang members will surrender illegal firearms, despite what the gang's Waikato president said.

"That's his personal opinion, it's not the opinion of the rest of the nation. The views are in his own inner circle, and some people are disregarding some of his comments."

Black Power life member Denis O'Reilly said he could not believe MPs were targeting gangs.

"Remember, it's the members of the Pākehā gun club that committed this atrocity and it's almost like a red herring that's been thrown to us to suddenly turn this into a debate about gangs.

"My friend and brother, Stuart Nash, starts talking about, 'oh can't let these things in the hands of the gangs'. Where the hell did the gang discussion come in?"

He is urging anyone with a semi-automatic firearm to hand it in.

And he has just one message for MPs.

"Not every Muslim is a terrorist, not every gang member is a criminal, and not every criminal is a gang member."

Owners of illegal firearms have until the end of September to hand them into authorities.

Those who do not, including gang members, could face up to 10 years in prison.

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