Saturday, April 13, 2024

New gun laws to add firepower to Police arsenal

High risk people will be banned from owning firearms under new Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs) set to be added to the Police arsenal before the end of the year.

Police Minister Poto Williams said it was a privilege, not a right, to own a gun in New Zealand.

“It is no secret that gun crime is an increasing concern to our communities and we need to take further action to make sure New Zealanders and their families are kept safe,” Minister Williams said.

“We need to take that ability out of the hands of people who pose a threat to our communities.

She said FPOs will protect the public from harm by prohibiting high-risk people from accessing, being around, or using firearms. Breaching the conditions of a Firearms Prohibition Order will be a criminal offence.

“This Government is very clear that violent gangs and other criminals cannot continue to threaten, intimidate, and exploit our communities. Firearms Prohibition Orders provide an extra tool for Police to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, and to keep our communities safe.”

“This complements work this Government has already taken, including a record investment in Police meaning we have been able to go hard against gangs and organised crime networks. We have the largest Police workforce ever, with 700 officers to be focused on organised crime.”

The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act will also be amended to introduce a new power enabling seizure of assets of those associated with organised crime – where the person’s known legitimate income is likely to have been insufficient to acquire the asset.

“We’re hitting gangs where it hurts – their pockets. This new organised crime power will help prevent those involved in organised crime from benefitting from crime and remove the primary reason for organised crime to exist – the profits they can make from vulnerable New Zealanders,” Justice Minister, Kris Faafoi said.

“Those involved in organised crime, including those who launder their money, would have to demonstrate their assets were obtained legitimately.

“These reforms signal that those who choose to be associated with groups  actively undertaking criminal activities in our communities are liable to have their property subject to investigation by the Commissioner of Police and risk wider asset forfeiture.”

Both the Firearms Prohibition Order Bill, and the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Amendment Bill will be introduced into the House before the end of the year, and the public will have an opportunity to comment on the bills when they are referred to select committee.

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