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Soft Air Guns - Toys Or Trouble

Soft Air Guns - Toys Or Trouble

The shooting of a man north of Auckland on Thursday is a warning for parents that the soft air guns their children may own are dangerous weapons in conflict situations.

Michael Reeves, president of the New Zealand Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (COLFO) said that soft air guns are considered by many to be toys, particularly by the teenagers who buy them.

"They are in fact imitation firearms. We estimate that there are tens of thousands of these soft air guns or imitation firearms in New Zealand.

"Parents would be horrified to know that their 18 year old children are buying imitation firearms from sporting good stores with little understanding of the responsibilities that come with gun ownership, said Mr Reeves.

Mr Reeves said the misuse of any firearm - imitation or real - has dire consequences.

"We support the current Police initiative aimed at educating youngsters buying soft air guns, but we also feel that the judiciary needs to look more seriously at the current penalties for the misuse of firearms.

"In many cases the penalties are no worse that a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket. But on Friday night, the outcome for the person misusing a firearm was the ultimate penalty - death," said Michael Reeves.



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