16 Mar 2016

Parliament to look at gun laws

7:18 pm on 16 March 2016

Parliament's law and order select committee has agreed to hold an inquiry into gun laws.

The seized weapons

Some of the weapons found in an Auckland house last week Photo: NZ Police

It was a unanimous decision.

Police Minister Judith Collins had called for the investigation, saying there needed to be a focus on how weapons were getting into the hands of criminals and gangs.

But Green Party MP David Clendon, who was on the committee, said the draft terms of reference created a slightly wider scope of investigation.

"This is not just about gangs - though certainly they are part of the problem. But many of the major gun-related tragedies in New Zealand have nothing to do with gangs," he said.

"It is important that we look at the whole issue of illegal possession, albeit criminals, gangs, or simply people who have guns who ought not to, possibly with no criminal intent."

Committee chairperson and National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi said the inquiry would include looking into gun imports.

Committee member and New Zealand First MP Ron Mark said it was important the inquiry did not just canvas points that already have been investigated and looked into how these weapons were coming into the hands of criminals.

Ms Collins said the inquiry was a positive move and showed other political parties were also taking it seriously.

She said she would decide whether it was sufficient once she had considered the terms of reference, or whether the government should consider another alternative.

Ms Collins' call for inquiry followed several incidents last week, including the shooting of four police officers near Kawerau last Wednesday.

The following day, military-style assault weapons were found in the ceiling of an Auckland house, as well as a P-lab inside a secret room in a warehouse.

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