Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


New emphasis on public safety for firearms

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister

Hon Stuart Nash

Minister of Police

22 July 2019 PĀNUI PĀPĀHO

A firearms register, tighter licensing system for gun owners and a new emphasis on safety and personal responsibility is the focus of new firearms legislation announced today.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Police Minister Stuart Nash have outlined details of the second set of law changes following the terror attack on 15 March.

“In April we acted to take the most dangerous weapons out of circulation by prohibiting assault rifles and military style semi-automatics,” Jacinda Ardern says.

“Now we are moving to stop other firearms falling into the wrong hands.

The next Arms Amendment Bill will:

• Establish a register of firearms and licence holders to be rolled out over 5 years

• Tighten the rules to get and keep a firearms licence

• Tighten the rules for gun dealers to get and keep a licence

• Require licences to be renewed every five years

• Introduce a new system of warning flags so Police can intervene and seek improvement if they have concerns about a licence holder’s behaviour

• Prohibit visitors to New Zealand from buying a gun

• Establish a licensing system for shooting clubs and ranges for the first time

• Set up a new formal group to give independent firearms advice to Police, which will include people from within and outside the gun-owning community

• Provide for new controls on firearms advertising

• Require a licence to buy magazines, parts and ammunition

• Increase penalties and introduce new offences

• Enshrine in law that owning a firearm is a privilege and comes with an obligation to demonstrate a high level of safety and responsibility

“The terror attack on March 15 highlighted the flaws in our licensing system,” says Jacinda Ardern.

“Our gun laws date from 1983 and are dangerously out date. Since then the firearms manufacturing industry and the ability to buy and sell online has markedly changed. Successive governments have known since the Thorp review of 1997 that our gun laws were too weak. Further attempts to change the system in 2005 and 2016 both failed.

“The changes announced today have been decades in the making. It is now up to this Parliament to deliver in the interests of public and personal safety,” Jacinda Ardern says.

“Owning a gun is a privilege, not a right” says Stuart Nash.

“The proposed changes will spell out the duties and obligations that come with that privilege. The vast majority of our gun owners are law abiding and responsible. The law changes will reinforce the positive behaviour that is required of all gun owners.

“Under the current law, we do not know exactly how many guns are in circulation, who owns them, who is selling them, who is buying them, or how securely they are stored against the risk of theft or misuse.

“There are more than 260 shooting clubs and ranges which operate without any system of licensing.

“Police have very few options for intervening when they see concerning behaviour. Revoking a firearms licence can only happen for the most serious cases and can take weeks, during which time the guns can be given away or disappear without trace.

“The administration of the system is also very outdated. There are higher penalties for unlawfully taking fish than for some firearms offences. It is cheaper to get a gun licence than a dog licence. We need to modernise the system.

“We owe it to the victims and the survivors of the mosque terror attacks to make these changes. We owe it to other members of the community, such as victims of family harm or aggravated robberies, to tighten our gun laws.

“We also owe it to the men and women on the frontline of Policing. They turn up to some callouts with no knowledge of what they are walking into. Every month Police are called to 200 crimes where a firearm is involved. Every year between 800 and 1000 firearms are reported stolen. They disappear onto the black market, many into the hands of gangs.

“Around eleven percent of firearms offences are committed by gang members. Police intelligence indicates most illegally-held firearms are stolen from legitimate owners through poor storage practices.

“The current response to the buyback and amnesty shows how everyone can play their part to make our communities safer. It is still early days but good progress is being made.

“As of last night more than 2,100 people have turned up to more than 20 collection events. More than 3,200 firearms and 7,800 parts have been handed in, and compensation payments worth more than $6.1 million have been processed.

“The legislation is being drafted and is due for introduction in late August. It will spend three months at select committee for public feedback. In the meantime I encourage all interested people to begin writing submissions so they can take part in the process,” Mr Nash says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Commerce Commission: Retail Fuel "Not As Competitive As It Could Be"

The Commission has outlined some options it considers could improve competition. There are two broad sets of options it thinks may have the potential to help create a competitive wholesale market. These are:

• Greater contractual freedom to make it easier for resellers to switch between suppliers; and
• Enabling wider participation in the majors’ joint infrastructure, notably the shared terminals and supporting logistics involved in their borrow-and-loan system.
Further options, including improving the transparency of premium petrol prices, are discussed in the draft report. More>>


Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>


School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>


IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>


Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

PM's Post-Cab: Bad Mail

Cabinet was updated on the process around prisoners sending mail, following the accused Christchurch gunman sending letters that "should have been stopped". All mail of "high concern prisoners" will now be checked by a specialist team and a changes to the legal criteria for witholding mail are expecting to go to a cabinet committee in this parliamentary session. More>>

Welfare: Ongoing Drug-Test Sanctions Contradicts Govt’s Rhetoric

Reports that two-thirds of beneficiaries who fail drug tests are still having their benefit sanctioned contradicts the Government’s so-called health approach to drugs. More>>


Welfare: More Measures To Help Those Facing Homelessness

Ministers have announced $54 million in Government funding for initiatives which will support at-risk individuals and whānau to stay in their existing tenancies. The funding will also provide additional wrap around services. More>>


Corrections: New Strategy On Māori Reoffending And imprisonment

Authentic co-design with Māori, incorporating a Te Ao Māori worldview, and greater connectedness with whānau are key elements of Hōkai Rangi, Corrections’ new departmental strategy designed to address the long-term challenge of Māori reoffending and imprisonment. More>>





InfoPages News Channels