Monday, March 18, 2019

New Zealand Police Association Fully Supports Prime Minister's Call For Gun Law Changes

Karley Burtt-
A u c k l a n d ,   N e w   Z e a l a n d - 

Police Association President Chris Cahill has welcomed the Prime Minister’s early commitment to changing New Zealand’s gun laws.

“Jacinda Ardern has said emphatically that New Zealand’s gun laws will change and that now is the time for that change. I absolutely agree with her and I believe many New Zealanders will be aghast that in our country someone can amass a cache of weapons like that discovered in this Christchurch tragedy,” Mr Cahill said.

“It is sickening that it has taken this horrific event to wake us up to our vulnerability. My first thoughts are with the families of those who have been killed or injured, and with our incredibly brave first responders – police officers, ambulance and hospital staff, and all those members of the public who helped in any way they could.

“However we cannot ignore the role of guns in this event.”

Mr Cahill says the debate that New Zealand is about to have on access to certain firearms should be short and swift.

“As we enter that debate however, we need to be mindful of the welfare of victims and their families and the people of Christchurch for whom Friday’s shocking events will remain raw for a very long time,” he said.

“There is no place in the upcoming debate for the radical gun lobby which has made its presence felt in previous attempts to make our country safer. That input undoubtedly contributed to the rejection of most of the select committee recommendations on tightening our gun laws. We have seen what happens in the United States when gun radicals are involved. Nothing. That is not good enough for New Zealand.”

“Reputable firearms owners have a role to play but I do not believe there is any place at the table for those who use social media to spew hate and vitriol as they wind each other up in the belief that it is their right to own whatever weapons they desire,” Mr Cahill said.

“The bitter irony with this alleged perpetrator in Christchurch is he would not have been able to buy the weapons he had in his home country of Australia, because immediately after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 the then Prime Minister John Howard acted swiftly to ban semi-automatic weapons and Australians were with him.”

“New Zealanders and our politicians now need to step in behind Prime Minister Ardern as she takes decisive action on access to lethal weapons. I can pledge that the association will do everything it can to assist her in cleaning up our gun laws.”

The Police Association has grave concerns about the safety of police officers following the recent incidents which appear to show they have, once again, been deliberately shot at.

Association President Chris Cahill says that concern most certainly extends to the safety of innocent members of the public who, as last night’s incident in suburban Richmond showed, were just getting on with their lives in their own neighbourhood.

“The one biggest dread I have in my role is getting that call to say a police officer has been shot and killed."

Yet as every day passes, and the reports of firearms incidents becomes relentless, I fear that call is ever closer unless we seriously crack down on the proliferation of illegal firearms,” Mr Cahill said.

“I have been keeping watch on the number of firearms incidents now being reported in everyday media, and since last June there have been at least 60,” he said.

“On top of that are the daily reports from Association members of finding firearms during routine police stops and property and personal searches throughout New Zealand. These rarely make the news. ”

Mr Cahill says it is not good enough to downplay New Zealand’s increasing issue with firearms by writing off such incidents as the domains of gangs or organised criminals.

“The families who were forced to take shelter in Christchurch last night know, following their appalling experience, that firearms in the hands of the wrong people are terrifying and a potential risk to us all.”

“I want to make it very clear that my concerns are not about law abiding firearms owners who securely store their guns. My focus is on the ease at which people can access firearms, especially through burglaries, and the fact that no-one actually knows how many firearms are out in our communities because we are not required to register them individually,” Mr Cahill said.


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