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Firearms legislation - too important to rush.


Media Release

11 February 2000

Firearms legislation - too important to rush.

New Zealand First MP Ron Mark yesterday persuaded the Law and Order Select Committee to extend the time for hearing submissions on the Arms Amendment Bill (No.2).

"This is a very important issue for society and the potential for 'getting it wrong' due to extremely strong views held by many groups and individuals is such that we must seek to make haste slowly," said Mr Mark.

"I am concerned that the fear of some firearm owners opening themselves up to unfair criticisms and the risk of burglary arising from identifying themselves as gun owners, may be such that the select committee is denied a balanced view.

"Members of the public should be reminded of the ability to request the giving of their submissions in secrecy in order to protect their identity and personal details," said Mr Mark.

"New Zealand First remains to be convinced that regulation, on its own, could bring about the changes in attitude towards the use of firearms by offenders, plus the lessons learned by countries such as Australia, England and the USA should be taken into account before rushing through legislation.

"I also need convincing that the New Zealand Police see firearms vetting, licensing and safe storage as the priority sought by many, given the enormous workload of the Police", concluded Mr Mark.


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