Government releases details of proposed firearms legislation

New law is currently being drafted and due for introduction next month

Government releases details of proposed firearms legislation

Four months after the Christchurch terror attack, the New Zealand government has released details of new firearms legislation it plans to introduce next month.

The proposed Arms Amendment Bill is currently being drafted and due for introduction in late August 2019. Police Minister Stuart Nash said that the legislation will spend three months at select committee for public feedback.

“Owning a gun is a privilege, not a right,” said Nash. “The proposed changes will spell out the duties and obligations that come with that privilege. The vast majority of our gun owners are law abiding and responsible. The law changes will reinforce the positive behaviour that is required of all gun owners.”

“The terror attack on March 15 highlighted the flaws in our licensing system,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “Our gun laws date from 1983 and are dangerously out date. Since then the firearms manufacturing industry and the ability to buy and sell online has markedly changed. Successive governments have known since the Thorp review of 1997 that our gun laws were too weak. Further attempts to change the system in 2005 and 2016 both failed."

The new law will include provisions to establish a register of firearms and licence holders, require licenses to be renewed every five years, prohibit visitors to New Zealand from buying a gun, and establish a licensing system for shooting clubs and ranges.

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