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Police seek amnesty on illegal guns

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/01/2017

<span style="font-size:13px;">The police commissioner has called for an amnesty on illegal firearms to help reduce the number of criminals confronting officers with weapons.</span> © Phil Walter The police commissioner has called for an amnesty on illegal firearms to help reduce the number of criminals confronting officers with weapons. The country's top policeman has called for an amnesty allowing people to hand in illegal firearms without fear of being charged.

It comes as police were involved in a number of fatal shootings in the past year, including the deaths of Savey Kevin Sous in Whanganui and Nick Marshall in Hamilton after both men pointed weapons at officers.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush told RNZ criminals using firearms were an increasing danger to officers.

He said while he did not support buying back illegal weapons, he would like to see an amnesty grace period.

"The police advice would be an amnesty, yes, but not a buy-back," he said.

"I understand our Australian colleagues didn't have a lot of success with that, it was hugely expensive."

Police Association president Chris Cahill also supports an amnesty but wants to see details about how it would work.

"Any thing to get the large number of illegal firearms off the street would be a very good thing," he told NZ Newswire.

The association understood 50,000 firearms were imported into New Zealand last year.

With most lasting a long time before they wore out or broke, he said the country's stock of weapons was continually increasing and that "a hell of a lot of those (were falling) into the hands of criminals".

"Our members are daily confronted with firearms," he said.

"That is why it is no surprise to us we have seen an increase in police shootings."

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