Sunday, January 02, 2005


Police Minister George Hawkins confirmed today that registration will not be in a bill he is preparing to tighten border control of illicit arms trading. The legislation will bring New Zealand into line with international protocols on the control of weapons, parts and ammunition. The registration of all the guns in the country was recommended seven years ago in a government-commissioned review of gun laws carried out by Sir Thomas Thorpe. Neither the previous nor the present government acted on the recommendation, and Mr Hawkins said today it was off the agenda. "Police told the Government it wouldn't make very much difference, and they recommended that we did not register every firearm," he said on National Radio. "Police advice was that most of the times guns are used illegally, they are illegal guns and they don't know about them anyway."

The chairman of the Council of licensed Firearms Owners, John Howat, agreed with the decision. "There's no evidence, anywhere in the world, that registration systems assist police in generally controlling firearms," he said. "It is incredibly costly. We don't want to go down that track, it's a waste of money."

The Progressive Party's justice spokesman, Matt Robson, has advocated registration in the past and he did not agree. "Without a firearms registration authority, without the proper registration of every gun in New Zealand, we leave ourselves very vulnerable," he said.

Mr Hawkins will put his bill into Parliament early next year. He said it would give increased powers to customs officials to search for and seize illicit weapons and ammunition. It would allow New Zealand to sign the United Nations protocol on the control of trans-national organised crime. "Illegal arms getting into the Pacific isn't something we want to see, and we're playing our part as a responsible member of the Pacific group of nations," he said. "We're very conscious that we have a lot of ports, a lot of yachts come to them, and we have to be ever vigilant."

There are four different classes of firearms licence in New Zealand. The A category entitles holders to own and use rifles and shotguns. Other categories enable people to own and use handguns and military-style semi-automatic firearms under strict conditions.



A homeowner fought back Thursday morning after her teenage nephew was shot in the arm as two men invaded her Missouri City home looking for a man she did not know, police told Local 2. Missouri City detectives said homeowner Malika Leverette noticed two armed men in their 20s approaching the front door of her home on Reecewood Lane at Mulberry at about 3 a.m. As the woman ran to get a gun, the intruders stormed inside the home and asked where a man named "Snoop" was.

Investigators said when Leverette told them they had the wrong house, the men fired a bullet at her 16-year-old nephew, who was sleeping on the couch. Leverette told police she then opened fire on the men as they escaped. Officials think the woman struck one of the intruders because there was a trail of blood leaving the home.

Leverette's nephew was transported to a hospital with a gunshot wound to the arm. His condition has not been released. Officials said there is a possibility that the intruders invaded the wrong home because Leverette moved into the home two weeks ago.


No comments: