New Zealand Law Society - Amendments to firearms laws recommended

Amendments to firearms laws recommended

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Parliament's Law and Order select committee has released a report on its Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand, with a number of recommended changes to the law.

After the seizure of 14 illegally owned firearms, including military-style semi-automatic weapons, from a home in Takanini in March 2016 the committee established an inquiry into the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand.

The committee met between 16 March 2016 and 5 April 2017 to consider the inquiry. It received 102 submissions from organisations and individuals and heard oral evidence from 20 submitters, as well as advice from the New Zealand Police.

The committee makes 20 recommendations. The New Zealand First party said it could not support the general thrust or direction of the report or many of the recommendations.

The following changes to the law are recommended by the report:

  • Amending the law so that a firearms licence is required to possess ammunition, unless the person in possession of the ammunition is under the immediate supervision of a firearms licence holder.
  • Amending the law so that a firearms dealer's licence be required to sell or supply ammunition by way of a business.
  • Amending the law so that dealers are required to keep records of sales of ammunition.
  • Amending the Arms Act 1983 to clearly state that a gang member or prospect must not be considered a fit and proper person to possess firearms and therefore must not hold a firearms licence.
  • Amending the law to require the Police to record the serial numbers of all firearms possessed by licence holders upon renewal of their licence or inspection of their premises.
  • Reviewing the penalties in the Arms Act 1983.
  • Amending the law so that where a dealer has committed an offence under the Arms Act, the court must treat this as an aggravating factor at sentencing.
  • Amending the law to make it clear that the secure storage requirements must be met to the satisfaction of the Police, before a licence or endorsement can be issued.
  • Extending Police powers to enter premises to inspect the security of "A" category firearms.
  • Amending the Arms Act so that failure to comply with the storage regulations must result in revocation of a firearms licence.
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