14 Jan 2013

Airgun teen shot in heart

5:39 pm on 14 January 2013

A post-mortem has revealed an 18-year-old killed in an airgun accident in Auckland was shot through the heart.

Shaun Townsley was fatally shot while he and a group of friends were drinking and firing air rifles and air pistols at cans at his home in the South Auckland suburb of Manurewa on Saturday evening.

Police say the shooting appeared to be accidental but an investigation is looking at whether charges relating to careless or dangerous use of a firearm should be laid.

They say a post-mortem shows Mr Townsley was shot in the heart.

Police are waiting for tests results to determine how much alcohol he and the man who shot him had been drinking.

No change needed to law, say sports shooters

A sports shooting advocate says there is no need to tighten the law on airgun ownership despite the fatal shooting.

The Government changed the law in 2010 to require owners of the most powerful airguns to have a firearms licence, but the majority of airguns can be bought by anyone over 18.

Sporting Shooters Association president Phil Cregeen says the law strikes the right balance, but airguns must still be treated with the same care as firearms.

He says that includes never pointing a gun at a person, always treating it as loaded and never firing until everyone is behind the shooter.