With the Government's firearm buyback scheme starting to draw over 30,000 police man hours away from fighting crime, the
safety of law abiding citizens is being compromised.
The rushed legislation that has resulted in legal gun owners effectively being turned into criminals will have a further
impact by stretching Police resources. “We are not being misled by the attempts to put a positive spin on the gun buy
back, communities are being compromised by this process,” says New Conservative Leader Leighton Baker.
In rural communities police officers are prohibited from keeping surrendered firearms at their local stations and must
take them immediately to a central station, removing frontline police resources for extended periods of time, and in
some instances leaving no on-duty officers for the time it takes to transport the firearms.
“It’s not just the cost of buying back what were legal assets that is going to hurt us as a nation,” says Leighton.
“It’s the harm done to tens of thousands of law abiding tax paying citizens who feel cheated, manipulated and victimised
by this rushed legislation.” The Police resources committed to the process of managing the buy back events, coordinating
the procedural requirements, and monitoring the compliance, are placing huge demands on the Police.
“It’s not too late for the government to re-think its position,” explains Leighton. “Simply re-classifying the firearms
and requiring stricter licence conditions would mean that owners would have the ability to choose whether to keep or
surrender their firearms. After all, democracy is meant to be about choice. Either way, illegally owned weapons are not
going to be handed in and criminals are not going to surrender their weapons. Add to this the strain on Police resources
and New Zealanders have every right to be questioning their safety."
Taking a step back from this rushed legislation would represent real benefit to New Zealanders. Tens of thousands of
police hours could be recommitted to reducing crime, up to one billion dollars in fiscal savings, and a population with
restored faith in the democratic process.
New Conservative believes it’s not too late for the government to do right by its citizens.