Government's proposed gun legislation leaked to Opposition outlines harsher penalties, new rules

Source: 1News

A copy of the Government's proposed gun legislation has been leaked to the Opposition, with harsher penalties and stricter regulations set to be on the horizon. 

The draft legislation, obtained by 1 NEWS, proposes harsher penalties if gun owners break the law, more regulation of gun clubs and new rules for doctors with concerns about patients holding gun licences. 

Parliament made sweeping changes to New Zealand's gun laws following the March 15 Christchurch terrorist attack that saw 51 people killed. 

The second wave of gun reforms were announced last month , with a gun register to be created, gun licence length dropping from 10 years to five and police being given additional power.

In addition, the leaked draft legislation proposes the maximum fine for issues with gun licences to go from $1000 to $20,000. 

- If a firearm is aimed at a person, the jail time could increase from three months to five years, and failure to show police a firearm when asked could see the fine increased from $1000 to $10,000. 

- The leaked draft proposes doctors may pass on patient's medical records to police if they consider the person to be unfit to own a firearm. The doctor would not face legal action for disclosing the information. 

- A gun club would also need a certificate from the Police Commissioner every five years. 

Police Minister Stuart Nash said there has to be consequences for breaking the rules. 

"It's about keeping our community safe, it really is."

Nicole McKee of the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners worried if clubs and ranges were shut down, more people could end up "shooting down at the river".

All parties in Parliament, aside from ACT, supported the first tranche of the Government's gun reform. 

However, National's police spokesperson Brett Hudson told 1 NEWS he would encourage his colleagues not to back the bill. 

"If they're going to subject law-abiding Kiwis to that kind of scrutiny, surely all that will be achieved is to push mental health issues underground because people simply won't go to their medical practitioner with their problems."

"It's a pretty clear signal that people within the machinery of Government that think the Government have got it completely wrong," he said.