SunLive         

Reforming our firearm legislation has been a major point of discussion for all New Zealanders.

Tragic events last year unveiled inadequacies in firearm licensing and management systems.

New Zealand First strongly believes in taking a balanced approach to this issue. We need to promote responsible legal gun ownership while taking a hard line against criminals and the illegal use of firearms.

This week, there have been substantive changes made to the firearms legislation through the Select Committee process. New Zealand First is pleased with some of these changes, but we believe that more needs to be done when the Bill returns to the House in the coming weeks.

A gun register has been a contentious aspect of the legislation with several amendments recently made. Legal firearm owners will now have a 30 day grace period when transferring the use of a firearm. However, we also believe that parts and accessories should not be included in registry. No one has ever been injured by a scope, bipod, or anything of the sort.

New Zealand First has listened intently to the suggestions of submitters and has been working closely with Police Minister Stuart Nash to achieve an optimal balance between legal gun use and compliance. We have reaffirmed our party's view that police need to treat law abiding owners with respect and should come down hard on criminals and gangs. We believe that a balanced result needs to be achieved.

Clayton Mitchell
New Zealand First MP