New Zealand’s newest tools to reduce gun crime come into force today.
Police Minister, Chris Hipkins says the Firearms Prohibition Orders will improve public safety by stopping people whose behaviour and actions represent a high risk of violence from accessing firearms or restricted weapons.
“Firearms Prohibition Orders are another measure that will help tackle and reduce gun crime and its impacts on our communities,” Mr Hipkins said
“The Orders empower judges to prohibit anyone convicted of firearms-related crimes and other specific crimes, including murder and serious violence offences, from accessing or using guns. These orders will help Police further reduce firearms violence and make our communities safer.
“Firearms Prohibition Orders target any violent offenders, including gang members. It gets the balance right between public safety and the right to use and own firearms– by prohibiting people with a history of offending from being near a dangerous weapon.
“The new legislation gives a judge the power to impose an order lasting 10 years and makes it a criminal offence to breach the conditions of the order. A breach is an imprisonable offence.”
Penalties for new breach offences include:
- Up to two years imprisonment, if a person breaches a condition of the order, for example resides in a location where there is firearms, or visits a prohibited location such as a gun shop;
- Up to five years imprisonment if a person is found in possession or control of a firearm;
- Up to seven years imprisonment if the firearm was a prohibited firearm, such as military style semi-automatic weapons;
- Up to five years imprisonment, or up to seven years imprisonment if the firearm was a prohibited firearm, for knowingly supplying a firearm to a person subject to a firearm prohibition order.
“Firearms Prohibition Orders close a gap in the Arms Act 1983 that might have enabled a high-risk person to legally access firearms,” said Mr Hipkins.
“We have brought in this legislative tool to hold offenders to account and keep our communities safe from the harm which firearms can be caused when in the wrong hands.”