Firearms offences on the rise despite tighter gun laws

Newshub can reveal firearms offences are on the rise despite tougher gun laws.

It comes after Police launched investigations into two fatal shootings in just 24 hours.

A 37-year-old man is charged with murder after a man was shot on Sunday morning and died in Whanganui Hospital.

Later that day, police launched a homicide investigation in Palmerston North after a man died from gunshot wounds.

This .308 bolt action hunting rifle was purchased legally and is kept under lock and key so criminals can't get to it.

It's what responsible gun owners have always done and they say recent gun law changes haven't worked.

"We continue to see gun crime rising, despite the fact that police and previous Governments have said that the new laws that affect licenced firearms owners are the key to reducing gun crime and keeping New Zealanders safe," Council of Licenced Firearms Owners spokesperson Hugh Devereux-Mack said.

After the 2019 Christchurch terror attack, a Firearms Safety Authority was established within Police to operate a new mandatory gun registry.

More than 100,000 have been registered since it launched seven months ago.

Gun control advocate Philippa Yasbek said it's a success.

"We need to be both licencing the people who use them and registering the firearms that are out there," Yasbek said.

But figures obtained by Newshub show gun crime just keeps going up. In 2017 the average number of firearms offences per month was 387. In 2022, the average increased to 532 and last year it rose again to 547.

And all the while, police are losing the confidence of those who actually obey the law. In a new survey of more than 1000 licenced firearms owners conducted at the end of last year, Police received an average score of 1.3 out of 10 in its ability to balance the rights of legal gun owners against imposing controls to tackle illegal gun activity.

ACT MP Nicole McKee is the new minister in charge of firearms law, and she's going to shake things up.

"First and foremost, we need to remove the administration and regulation of firearms from New Zealand Police and put them into an agency which those firearms owners can trust. This Government is committed to doing that," she said.

ACT campaigned on abolishing the gun register.

"Reasonably confident that the registry will remain in place. It is a really important crime-fighting tool, the National Party have recognised that," Yasbek said.

But we shouldn't be so sure about that.

"Our coalition agreement said that we would review the registry before June 2024 so that we can ascertain whether or not it's meeting its objectives of keeping our communities safe. So far, I don't see that working," McKee stressed.