Govt may limit firearm access for high-risk people
The government is floating the idea of firearms prohibition orders, to give police powers to keep people deemed to be high-risk away from firearms.
This follows two law changes introduced after the 15 March attacks; one that banned some assault and military-style weapons, and one that will create a national firearms register and a tougher licensing regime.
Now the government has released a discussion document about FPOs - aimed at those with a history of violent offending, gun crimes or family harm.
The orders could prevent those people from living at, visiting a property or being in a vehicle where firearms are held.
They would also give police more powers to investigate people outside of the firearms licencing system, including searching properties and confiscating illegal firearms.
Police Minister Stuart Nash says FPOs could offer police "significant potential to disrupt criminal organisations".
The government wants to get public feedback on various elements of the orders, like which previous convictions should be included, whether the police or judges should make the decision, and the extent of police powers.
"FPOs are aimed at those who've already shown a disregard for the law through prior offending, which may include offending with firearms," Stuart says.
"They could be a gang member, or part of an extremist ideological group, or a person with a history of family harm."
While officials say it would be hard to predict how many FPOs would be issued, they say it is possible fewer than 20 could be issued in the first year of operation.
What is a Firearms Prohibition Order?
• A legally enforceable document which sets out a range of conditions the person must comply with
• Could prohibit the person from possessing, using, accessing, or being around firearms, parts or ammunition
• The order could be issued by either a Judge or the police, there would be a right of appeal by the person subject to the FPO
• Police would enforce the FPO and a breach of conditions would be a criminal offence.
The discussion document asks for feedback on the conditions an FPO could impose, consideration of the practical effect of an FPO and how it would impact on individual human rights.
Submissions close on Monday 13 January next year.