Stricter firearms rules not fair to ‘law-abiding’ users


Stricter firearms licensing rules being proposed might result in onerous burdens for law-abiding citizens, a Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) spokeswoman says.
RWNZ national finance chairwoman Rachael Dean said the proposed changes, related to the illegal possession of firearms, would weigh heavily on responsible firearms owners.
The law and order select committee earlier this year announced it would conduct an inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand, with the possible introduction of a database to monitor all new firearms and microchipping of new firearms.
It follows the shooting of four police officers in Kawerau, and the discovery of a large cache of illegal military-style weapons in Auckland in March.
Law and order select committee chairman Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi said the incident highlighted the need to investigate how criminals were able to obtain illegal firearms.
Mrs Dean voiced her concerns on the issue at the law and order select committee on August 17.
Instead of enforcing stricter licensing rules, she wants lawmakers to ‘‘put the resources on the problem, not the people that aren’t the problem’’.
She believed it would be more logical to clamp down on people ‘‘who don’t obey the law’’ instead of those who did.
Instead of targeting responsible firearms owners with more vetting, she wanted to see more police in rural areas, which she believed would reduce the amount of firearm theft, Mrs Dean said.
RWNZ also believed all Government policy, including those related to firearms, should be ‘‘rural-proof’’, so the sector was impacted on only as much as necessary, she said.
Ultimately, RWNZ wants the focus put towards improving community safety where there was an issue, and prevention of organised and firearm-related crime, she said.
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