Police union calls for firearms register in New Zealand as gun violence grows

The Police Association is calling for a compulsory New Zealand gun register after a survey revealed that many cops had been threatened with a firearm in the last year.

Fifty-five thousand guns are imported to New Zealand each year, and conservative estimates place the number of guns owned in NZ at 1.5 million - 14,000 of those being semi-automatic weapons.

The police union wants greater accountability under the law and a way to track gun ownership, but not everyone is convinced.

Gun City owner David Tipple says most of the weapons pulled on police are fakes, and NZ's current gun laws are fine.

"There's been no increase in firearms crime, despite an increase in firearms ownership," he told Three's The Project.

"We have the firearms legislation that so many other countries look up to."

Police Association President Chris Cahill says cops have had guns pulled on them at routine traffic stops, search warrant executions and domestic violence call outs.

He says a register needs to be created before New Zealand has a gun related tragedy.

It's not the gun owners he wants to target, but instead the criminals who manage to steal them in burglaries.

At the moment we don't have any idea where the vast majority of firearms in New Zealand are," he said.