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Collins keen to get tougher on firearms

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/05/2016
Judith Collins © Getty Images Judith Collins

Police Minister Judith Collins is signalling tighter controls on the licensing of firearms to gang members.

"I was really shocked the other day to find that being a gang member doesn't preclude someone from having a firearms licence, because, apparently, you're still a fit and proper person," Ms Collins told TVNZ's Q&A programme on Sunday.

She says "this is the sort of nonsense that we need to change the law on".

Parliament's law and order select committee is holding an inquiry into the illegal possession of firearms.

It is looking at how widespread firearm possession is among criminals, including gangs, and how criminals, gangs and those who do not have a licence come into possession of firearms.

The Labour Party and Ms Collins called for an inquiry following the shooting of four police officers near Kawerau in March.

Ms Collins told Q&A that police are working with the Ministry of Social Development, Customs, Inland Revenue and others on a strategy to tackle gangs.

"Let me tell you that 92 per cent of these gang members are either on a benefit or have just come off one or have been in jail. That's the sort of people we're talking about."

She says gangs are also being run like businesses.

"People like the Head Hunters are now running people like the Black Power and the Mongrel Mob so that they actually use a franchise business model.

"So one of the big things for police and other agencies like IRD, for instance, is actually to make the cost of business so expensive for them, particularly the people who are in charge, that it's just not worth their while."

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