30 Nov 2019

Firearms owners express anger over more gun reform

7:43 pm on 30 November 2019

Licensed firearms owners are calling on the government to delay any further proposed changes to gun legislation.

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Demonstrators say the ban on semi-automatic weapons and the proposed second tranche of gun reform targets law-abiding citizens rather than criminals. Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher

Protesters outside a police buyback event in Auckland say they want the Royal Commission into the Christchurch mosque attacks to submit its final report, before any further changes are made.

Several demonstrations organised by the Council of Licensed Firearms owners are happening throughout the country today.

In Auckland, more than 50 protesters gathered outside the Trusts Arena in Henderson waving large banners at oncoming traffic.

One of them, the firearms spokesperson for the New Conservative party, Victoria O'Brien, said the inquiry's findings will likely indicate what law changes are needed.

"These laws that are being passed are rushed. They are, in fact, going to be taking away the rights of not just firearms owners but also your ordinary New Zealander."

Ms O'Brien handed in two items to the police and also applied for an endorsement to own a prohibited firearm earlier this morning.

"It is actually very distressing. People ... have made comments 'so, why don't you just find another hobby' ... this is not just a hobby.

"...For so many people, it's a way of life, it's a way of feeding their families and it is their entire community."

Other demonstrators said the government had rushed through changes to legislation and their rights have been taken away as a result.

The next stage of gun law reform, which proposes to introduce a firearms register, tighter rules for gun dealership licences, and stronger penalties, has passed its first reading.

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Protesters say the government is rushing through changes to the law around firearms. Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher

In April, a law banning certain weapons and parts passed with near unanimous political support in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks that left 51 people dead.

The National Party joined forces with the government back then, however Parliament is once again divided on the second tranche with the Opposition pulling its support.

National leader Simon Bridges said the changes appeared to target "good, law-abiding people rather than criminals, gangs or extremists" and went too far.

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