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New Zealand Will Make It Illegal For 'High-Risk' People To Own Firearms

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New Zealand Will Make It Illegal For 'High-Risk' People To Own Firearms

New Zealand is launching a new policy to keep weapons out of the hands of 'high-risk' people.

According to the New Zealand Herald, a bill is being introduced to ensure criminals and gang members are banned from owning firearms.

The legislation will lean on Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs) and the country's Police Minister reckons around 1,000 FPOs could be issued each year.

In order for a FPO to be issued to an individual, they would need to have committed a crime and gone through the courts process.

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The eligible crimes include serious firearms offences, serious violent offences, being part of an organised criminal group, terror-related under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

Once they meet the criteria, authorities can stop these high-risk people from buying, using or even being around a firearm.

Police Minister Poto Williams said the bill is being introduced to protect the community from a recent increase in gang violence.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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"It is no secret that gun crime is an increasing concern to our communities and we need to take further action to make sure New Zealanders and their families are kept safe," Williams said.

"It is a privilege, not a right, to own or use a gun in this country and we need to take that ability out of the hands of people who pose a threat to our communities."

The bill expands on a piece of proposed legislation that has already been submitted by Nationals MP Simeon Brown.

However, the Police Minister said their measures are broader because it doesn't just focus on organised crime.

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The Nationals bill aims to stop gang members from holding a firearms licence and it would also give police additional powers to search and seize guns from gang members who have a criminal history of serious crimes.

Simeon Brown said it's interesting the Labour government is now introducing its own bill despite not supporting the Nationals' proposed legislation before the election.

"It's failure to act quickly has meant gangs have become more entrenched, and more emboldened," he said.

"If the Government was truly serious about cracking down on illegal ownership of guns, it would've made changes to National's FPO legislation that's currently in select committee, speeding up the process, rather than throwing it out just to introduce its own legislation.

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"Had Labour worked with the National Party when we first called for FPOs, we could've had them in place by now."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: New Zealand, News

Stewart Perrie
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