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Over 90% want tough gun controls

Over 90% of New Zealanders want tougher controls on guns, and more than 80% want military style machine guns off our streets, says Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control Matt Robson.

"People want to feel safe. We have a right to know that those who own guns have proved themselves safe. And we have a right to know how many guns any one person collects.

The poll, carried out by CM Research in June reveals that 91% of New Zealanders would like registered gun owners to register not only themselves, but also the numbers of guns they own.

81% agree that private individuals should not be allowed to own military style semi-automatic weapons.

"People feel concerned about the carnage machine-gun type weapons are capable of in the wrong hands. We've seen it recently at the high school tragedy in Denver, USA and we've seen it in our own country at Aramoana and Raurimu.
I would like to see this issue throughly examined.

"While it is impossible to eradicate the illegal trade of guns completely, we can at least make it harder for criminals to get access to legal guns, and we can put in incentives for legal owners not to sell to unregistered owners. We can also make it harder for an indivual to amass a collection of lethal weapons without the police knowing about it.

"We're looking at these initiatives internationally to prevent the illegal trade of small arms, so why not nationally?

"I would also like to see the an independent gun-licensing authority established, and I am pleased to have the support of my collegues to consider this.My private members bill of 1999 called for an independent authority in keeping with Judge Thorp's recommendations.

"There's a strong argument for relieving the police of the responsibility of registration. They just don't have the resources to do the job effectively, through no fault of their own.

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