Gangs wary of government guns crackdown

By Tema Hemi

The first reading on the newly proposed gun law bill was read today in parliament.  Gangs in particular have not been exempted from the laws and are expected to follow its processes or they will suffer the consequences according to Minister of Police Stuart Nash.  

Nash has warned gangs to surrender their weapons but one lifetime member of the Porirua Mongrel Mob chapter says that gang members are sitting targets.  

Mongrel Mob member Dennis Makalio says, "I don't even know why they're targeting gangs for a start.  The problem with politics is they always use the gangs for an example.  If this is about the incident in Christchurch this isn't gang-related."

Makalio feels that Nash's warning to gangs is unwarranted.

"Gangs are at a whole different era today, they are all about their communities.  They're all there to support one another now.  I can't answer what he has said, it's up to him to answer his own question, why target us?"

National Party spokesperson on police issues Chris Bishop says, "The gangs have to give up their guns like everybody else.  We can't have a situation where legitimate farmers and hunters, competitive shooters are giving up their weapons but the gangs are not."

Nash says, "Keep in mind there are two stages to this. There's the first stage which is banning these assault rifles and military style semi automatics which we are putting through today and will be passed by the end of next week.  There will be a wide select committee process and people can submit if they feel there are other parts of the arms act that need looking at."

Makalio fears that police will open fire upon gang members and their families.

"The police should sort their own issues out.  We are worried about what they might get away with using guns against us.  There are murders everyday in New Zealand nearly and it's got nothing to do with gangs."