National proposes bill to seize more firearms from gang members

Long Lunch 04/05/2018
Firearms that were confiscated in Auckland, 2010.

A National MP wants to give police the authority to clamp down on violent gang members and their access to firearms.

National Party police spokesman Chris Bishop is campaigning for a private member's bill that would widen police search and seizure powers.

While gang members make up just 0.1 percent of New Zealand’s population, Mr Bishop says they make up 15 percent of firearms charges.

The proposed Bill intends to prevent gang members from possessing guns legally, and to allow police to search the homes and vehicles of "serious, violent gang members for firearms".

“We reckon [the Bill] will give the police the power to crack down on these guys who have often quite high-powered weapons illegally and quite violent pasts.”

But Long Lunch host Wendyl Nissen remarked that the search and seizure provision could be a major breach of a person’s rights. Such issues were also raised during the 2017 election campaign.

Chris Bishop's bill aims to prevent firearm gang violence.

Mr Bishop replied that most Kiwis would agree that these weapons should be seized for safety.

“I think most Kiwis would say ‘actually the police should have the ability to go in and seize these weapons’,” he told RadioLIVE.

The National MP said that the Attorney General is to advise whether any rights are breached in the Bill.

“If a police officer does something that is potentially illegal then the courts have oversight of that process.” 

Listen to the full interview with Chris Bishop above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.