Sunday, May 26, 2024

Firearms Bill takes aim at gun violence

The Government’s commitment to tackling firearms violence reached another milestone today with the Firearms Prohibition Order (FPO) Bill passing its first reading unanimously in Parliament.

“The Bill is a key measure to combat firearms violence and adds to the Government’s strong track record in tackling gun crime and keeping our communities safe,” said Police Minister, Poto Williams.   

“Owning a firearm is a privilege, not a right and this Bill is another important step in the Government’s work to keep firearms out of the wrong hands.

“FPOs will reduce the harm caused by organised crime, gangs and firearms violence by expanding the list of people who will be unable to hold a firearms licence in this country.”

The Minister said the Bill makes it clear that no one convicted of a serious offence, including extortion, sexual violence, serious assault, murder or terrorising communities and families, will be able to use or access a firearm.

FPOs will take the form of a court order prohibiting anyone convicted of and sentenced for those serious offences from possessing, accessing, or using firearms for 10 years after their sentence has been completed. Breaching an FPO will result in a penalty of up to seven years, as would supplying firearms to those with an imposed Order.

The Bill is the latest in a suite of changes being made to strengthen our firearms laws.

“These changes include a dedicated firearms unit established within Police to take over firearms regulatory activities from December 2022, as well a firearms registry to be set up from June 2023, which will address the 30 year deficit of information when it comes to knowing what legal firearms are out there in our communities,” Ms Williams said.

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