Govt could back Bill to take firearms from gangs

  • 04/05/2018
Govt could back Bill to take firearms from gangs
Photo credit: Newshub.

A National Bill to take guns away from gangs could have the Government's support.

A Firearms Prohibition Order would allow police to search the homes and cars of around 600 gang members.

Police Minister Stuart Nash says addressing the issue is a major priority.

"I completely agree with the principle," Mr Nash told Newshub.

"But it's just got to fit in to the overall organised crime strategy that we're in the process of developing and a legislative agenda that we're developing around this."

Mr Nash questions why former Police Minister Paula Bennett didn't champion the Bill, despite having "ample opportunity".

"She didn't do it. So I must admit, I am a little bit cynical about this.

"But we agree with the principal and I'll sit down with Paula and see if we can make something work."

Police Association president Chris Cahill says there are too many firearms in the hands of criminals.

"That's why we've been calling for amendments to the Arms Act. And while this is a good one, we think this is a number more that needs to be made."

"Certainly they shouldn't and don't deserve the same rights as regular firearms owners. They don't deserve the right to have them and they don't deserve the right to hide them in their addresses so we think the act makes sense."

But Mr Cahill warns it won't solve the problem.

"Criminals already hide their firearms well.

"But [it] at least gives us more powers and it sends a very clear message that society is going to put the heat on gang members. Anything that makes them uncomfortable is a good thing."

Ms Nash admits it won't be a complete game changer, saying there still needs to be a deeper strategy in place.

"As opposed to just one Bill that takes firearms off gangs, there's a lot more work than that.

"It sounds like a fantastic idea and it's something we're working to achieve but it's a little simplistic because you've got to have a strategy on how you deal with gangs generally."

The minister says that plan is in the works.