National unlikely to support second round of gun law reforms

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 28 August 2019, 2:10PM
Simon Bridges says the Government is going after the good guys with the next part of the legislation. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Simon Bridges says the Government is going after the good guys with the next part of the legislation. (Photo / NZ Herald)

National appears to have dashed the Government's hopes of pushing through a second near bipartisan set of gun laws aimed at further tightening the country's firearms rules.

Although the second tranche of gun law reforms is still highly likely to become law, National leader Simon Bridges said his party was unlikely to support the legislation as it has done with prior gun law reform bills.

"In short, the Government is going after the good guys and not the bad guys [with these rules]."

Act leader David Seymour, who has also ruled out his support for the bill, said it was about time National woke up to the fact the proposed law would target law-abiding firearm owners.

The first tranche of gun laws passed through Parliament almost unanimously, with just Seymour in opposition.

They were rushed through Parliament after the March 15 terror attacks, where a gunman murdered 51 people using automatic weapons.

While the first set of laws banned most semi-automatic weapons, the second tranche would put in place a national gun register, tighter rules for gun dealership licences and higher penalties for breaking current gun rules.

The second tranche of gun laws has not yet gone before the House for a vote and has not been received by Cabinet either.

But a copy of the draft legislation, leaked to National and seen by the Herald, shows the potential fines for breaches of various compliance standards would jump from $1000 to as high as $10,000.

The penalty for licence breaches would be increased to two years' jail or a maximum fine of $20,000 and the bill would include a raft of new rules and requirements for gun clubs, the papers show.

This is the basis of National's opposition to the proposed law.

"National is unlikely to support it; that's because the Government hasn't heeded our warnings, publicly and privately," Bridges told the Herald.

He said law-abiding gun owners would face a lot of new rules – but not enough would be done to clamp down on the "baddies".

The baddies, according to Bridges, are the criminals, the gangs and the extremists.

Seymour said although voting against the second tranche of gun reforms won't excuse National's decision to support a "rushed undemocratic process in April" he welcomes the party's decision.

"ACT will work constructively to try to improve the Government's legislation.

"However, we will oppose a shortened select committee process and proposals such as a gun register, which has been shown to be an expensive failure in other countries."


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