The government’s proposal on Firearm Prohibition Order raises significant human rights concerns, says Green Party justice spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman.
“The one that really jumps out, for example, is warrantless search powers, so we are giving police extra powers without them being governed by our usual search and surveillance or search and seizure laws,” she was quoted as saying by RNZ.
“We know that where police abuses of power do happen they are disproportionately used against Māori or Pasifika people.”
Nash acknowledged there were concerns around human rights in the proposal.
“I think we have been very open about that and hence the reason we are putting this out for consultation because we are very keen to hear from our community what their views are human rights versus community safety, and it will interesting to see what they come back with.”
The FPO proposal has met with both approvals and concerns from organisations around New Zealand.
White Ribbon manager Rob McCann says FPOs could make a real difference if guns were kept out of the hands of people with a history of family harm.
Leaving a violent relationship is the most dangerous time for women, he said.
“It’s often when violence escalates because the perpetrator is no longer able to control the victim. Knowing that a partner was not able to possess or own a weapon might give someone the courage to get out, and it might even save a life.”
On the other hand, Sporting Shooters New Zealand (SSANZ) secretary Phil Cregreen said that SSANZ did not support FPOs.
“The law already prohibits people who are not fit and proper to hold a firearm licence from being in possession of a firearm, unless under the immediate supervision of a licence holder. No licence holder is going to supervise a criminal while he commits a crime. The people who it is intended to target already live outside the law, so why would a FPO prevent them from using a firearm when they choose to.
“In addition, an FPO adds additional penalties to a convicted person, which can seriously impact where they live and work on release and also affect their wider family and friends.
Cregreen added that they were also opposed to “more unfettered power being given to police, who already have too much power in relation to firearms”.
“Provided police vetting of all licence applicants is robust and sufficient resources are deployed to recover stolen firearms, then there is no need for FPOs.”
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Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) secretary Nicole McKee said that while they support the idea of FPOs in principle, they “have identified some areas of great concern and consequence to law-abiding firearms owners.
“We will be addressing these in more detail and start work on providing a statement on them by the end of this month. We note that the submissions close on 13 January 2020 and encourage readers to await our advice and ensure they also make their own views heard.”
McKee added that their focus has been on the announcement of the Supplementary Order Paper 408, which came out around the same time as the FPOs and a short submission time that closes on 29 November.
“So we are giving this urgent topic our main attention at the moment in order to provide advice on SOP 408 submissions to our members as well as preparing our own.”
COLFO is due to make a statement at the end of this month.
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