INDEPENDENT NEWS

Arms Feel-Good Legislation Will Cost Lives

Published: Thu 15 Jul 1999 12:42 AM
FEEL-GOOD LEGISLATION WILL COST LIVES
Parliament has gone into urgency, MP’s have passed some “feel-good” legislation and the New Zealand public will face the moral and financial consequences of a law that will not work.
Michael Reeves, president of the New Zealand Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO) said that he was saddened that legislation relating to firearms registration had come yet another step closer in today’s second reading with MP’s voting 111 to eight in favour of the Arms Amendment Bill (No.2).
“This is an appeasement to minority pressure groups. How much more proof do our elected representatives need that firearms registration will not make one iota of difference to the number of gunshot deaths in this country.
“When the Justice and Law Reform Select Committee meets they will be inundated with submissions from thousands of law-abiding and licensed gun owners who see this proposed legislation as unworkable, costly and therefore ridiculous,” said Michael Reeves.
He said that firearms registration would:
Divert Police from crime-fighting to book-keeping
Cost NZ tax-payers $100 million to implement (Coopers & Lybrand Report 1996)
Create a thriving black-market for firearms
Do nothing to combat crime
Fail to halt murders and amok killings committed by criminals and the mentally ill
Be as pointless as past legislation relating to Prohibition, Abortion and Homosexual activity.
Michael Reeves said that if firearms registration is eventually passed, New Zealand will be leaping backwards.
He said that in countries or states where firearms registration had been introduced, it had not worked: West Australia has the second highest murder and armed robbery rates in Australia. Brazil has the second highest firearms misuse rate in the world and guns are now being confiscated. Britain has twice the number of guns than in New Zealand, but has ten times the murders caused by guns. Canada introduced registration in 1995 spending $85 million, is now admitting to having spend $139 million to date and has budgeted a further $30 million per year for the next five years.
“Not even the comments from several senior ministers saying that although they were personally opposed to the legislation, they had to vote with the majority, will do anything to reduce the contempt licensed firearms owners will feel for their Members of Parliament”, said Michael Reeves.
ends

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