Gun owners ‘aggrieved’

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Aggrieved . . . South Canterbury Deerstalkers Association president Tim McCarthy said members are not happy about handing over their semi-automatic rifles. PHOTO: COURIER FILES

by Chris Tobin

Members of the South Canterbury Deerstalkers Association will comply with the Government’s wishes to hand over their semi-automatic rifles but they are not happy.

“One man’s actions have caused all responsible New Zealand firearms owners to be penalised and pay for his actions,” association president Tim McCarthy said.

“It defies logical thinking.

“There’s no reason to take semi-automatic rifles away.

“It’s not the firearm doing the the job, it’s the nut behind the trigger. What that man did in Christchurch was despicable but it wasn’t a New Zealander who did it.

“It was someone who came to New Zealand to do it.”

Mr McCarthy said gun owners felt “aggrieved” at what had happened.

He did not know how many of the 250 association members would be affected by the Government’s buyback and amnesty scheme.

“We’ve got a club of firearm users who do various kinds of shooting; long-distance, competition shooting. At the end of the day it’s all sport.

“The type of weapon used is an individual choice and we’re seeing semi-automatics being thrown under the bus.

“We’re going to comply with the law because we’re law-abiding people but we’re not happy.”

Last week police demonstrated how a community collection of firearms would work in an exercise at Trentham racecourse in the Hutt Valley.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said there had been a “noticeable” increase in the number of firearms handed in or declared since the buyback details were announced.

“More than 840 firearms have now been handed in.

“Owners have declared their intention to surrender almost 8000 further firearms, via online forms. Around 3000 of these weapons are not for compensation but are being surrendered as part of the amnesty.

“In addition, more than 1300 unlawful firearms have been seized by police during enforcement operations since March. Many of these weapons are from gangs and offenders without firearms licences.”

Mr Nash said he was grateful Federated Farmers, Rural Women, the Deerstalkers Association and dealer networks were informing the public about what was required.

Owners were being encouraged to prepare before going to a collection centre and most details could be completed online.

Firearms owners have been asked to bring their reference numbers, bank account details, firearm licences and photo IDs to a collection centre with the firearms cleared of ammunition and in safe carry bags.

“Where appropriate, firearms will be disabled soon after collection and then transported for secure destruction,” Mr Nash said.

Almost 200 buyback events have been organised around the country for the first three months of the amnesty.

Amnesty/buyback events

The amnesty and buyback events in South Canterbury (all hours between 10am and 3pm) are:

  • Caroline Bay Community Lounge, Timaru, July 27; also on August 17 and another date yet to be confirmed.
  • Geraldine Scout Den, Geraldine, September 21.
  • Waimate Information and Event Centre, September 22.
  • Fairlie (to be confirmed).