9 Apr 2014

Paris urged to revisit New Caledonia gun law plan

1:37 pm on 9 April 2014

A leading New Caledonian politician, Philippe Gomes, has called on the new French prime minister to revisit the proposed decree to curb gun ownership in the territory.

In a letter, Mr Gomes has asked Manuel Valls to withdraw the proposal that would limit any individual to owning no more than four firearms.

Mr Gomes, who is also a member of the French National Assembly, says the problem is not how many weapons a single person has but the number of households which now have guns.

After last year's announcement that gun ownership would be curbed, sales skyrocketed and now there is about one firearm for every two adult inhabitants.

Mr Gomes says gun ownership should be restricted to those who have no conviction and passed a psychiatric assessment to show they are in good mental health.

He says gun laws have been liberalised in 2009 but in the context of New Caledonia the murder rate is now per capita three times higher than in France.