Police would gain greater search powers under reform to target illegal weapons in gangs.

Measures including greater police search powers are being considered to try and get illegal weapons out of the hands of gangs.

Police Minister Judith Collins is expecting a report on firearm prohibition orders and has confirmed a law change is under active consideration.

The orders are used with varying conditions in three Australian states and are mostly targeted at motorcycle gangs, including the Hells Angels and Rebels.

In New South Wales, anyone served with a firearm prohibition order faces heavy penalties for possessing firearms, cannot knowingly be in the company of people with firearms, and cannot knowingly reside at or visit a location where there are firearms.

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Police in the state can stop and search a person who has been issued with an order and can search houses and vehicles they occupy without a warrant, to check if an order has been breached.

They have regularly used the orders since a law change in 2013; in one particular week 11 properties were searched and new orders issued to 14 people.

Orders are issued at the determination of the Police Commissioner.

A spokeswoman for Ms Collins said introduction of the orders here was being considered, but there was much detail to work through.

A police briefing to the Police and Justice Ministers from April last year, released under the Official Information Act, details the case for firearm prohibition orders. They have been introduced in NSW, South Australia and Tasmania.

While New Zealand was yet to experience the scale of armed gang offending that has occurred in Australia, evidence suggested gun crime was a particular problem among gang members, the paper states.

"For instance, 44 per cent of the almost 4000 patched adult gang members and prospects identified in July 2014 had been charged with offences involving firearms during their lifetime."

Police can currently deny high-risk offenders a gun licence, but there is no power to prevent the same people getting firearms through association with others, the briefing states.

Cabinet asked police and justice officials to look at firearm prohibition orders in June 2014 as part of a wider Gangs Action Plan. That work has since gathered pace.

Police Minister Judith Collins is expecting a report on firearm prohibition orders and has confirmed a law change is under active consideration. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Police Minister Judith Collins is expecting a report on firearm prohibition orders and has confirmed a law change is under active consideration. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Minutes from the police-run firearms community advisory forum meeting in December state that penalties in the Arms Act and permits for the import of parts will be considered for reform, and that "firearm prohibition orders are to be progressed as a separate bill".

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said the prohibition orders could be helpful, but it was another piecemeal measure when a wider inquiry was needed into why guns were so prevalent in the criminal community.

Labour's police spokesman Stuart Nash said he broadly supported any measure to limit criminals' firearm access, but would need to see evidence relating to search powers and other details.

He strongly supported Mr O'Connor's call for an over-arching review into firearms access.

Meanwhile, police yesterday attended an incident at a remote Coromandel holiday hotspot when at least two men were seen running with shotguns, chasing someone.

Armed officers swooped on the normally quiet Kennedy Bay just before midday and the local Harataunga Marae, which was filled with children, was forced into lockdown after shots were heard. Two men have been arrested.

A woman at the marae, who did not wish to be named, said she heard several gun shots and there were people running around with guns on the main street.

She said there were a lot of children at the marae over the holiday weekend and they were all very scared.

Waikato Police Senior Sergeant Andrew O'Reilly said police had received reports of shots being fired at Kennedy Bay about 11.30am. The Waikato Armed Offenders Squad was sent to the scene.

Several people were helping police with their inquiries. No firearms had been recovered and there was no report of injury.