No rethink on online gun sales - Bennett

Police Minister Paula Bennett says rethinking the country's gun registration laws is not a priority right now.

The Police Association wants online sales banned in the wake of the Whangarei shooting, where two women were killed by a man with unlicensed firearms bought on auction websites.

Labour has called for a digital database to improve record-holding on gun owners. Ms Bennett said that would cost about $30 million, and told The Nation on Saturday there were more pressing concerns for the police.

"More police on the street, more people in our organised crime unit; that would make a big difference," she said. "I just felt registration wasn't the priority."

The use of firearms in violent crime was "incredibly low", she said, at 1.4 percent. There was $500 million more injected into the Budget for police, she said, and when weighing up the cost for registration, "you couldn't go backwards".

"There are already an estimated 1.2 million guns in the system - then you've got grey (firearms owned by unlicensed users) and illegal ones."

Banning gang members from owning guns has also been considered. Ms Bennett said everyone would agree gang members should not be getting licenses and guns, given the likelihood they'd be used for criminal means.

The Government has gone through the process of defining who is a gang member, she said, and found just over 5000 patched members and prospects.

She said the Government has the licensing process right, and they aren't revisiting it at the moment.

But if recommendations come out through the police investigation of the Whangarei shooting, she is willing to take another look.

Newshub.

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