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Time to Recognise Pistol Grips As Safety Feature

Richard Prosser MP

Spokesperson for Police

20 November 2013  

Time to Recognise Pistol Grips As Safety Feature

With the Arms (Military Style Semi-Automatic Firearms and Import Controls) Amendment Bill set to become law next month, New Zealand First is calling for pistol grips on sporting rifles and shotguns to be officially recognised as safety features, and for the definition of ‘Military-Style Semi-Automatic’ to be abandoned entirely.

Police spokesperson Richard Prosser said that the very use of the term ‘Military Style Semi-automatic’ was nonsense.

“The term was invented to create a category of sporting firearms which somebody at Police Headquarters thought were cosmetically similar to real military combat weapons.

“It doesn’t exist anywhere in the world outside of New Zealand law, and creates the impression that semi-automatic sporting long guns have some relevance to military use and function, which they do not.”

“Actual military assault rifles have a fully automatic, or machine-gun, function, which sporting semi-automatics do not. The pistol grip was originally a safety feature invented for sporting rifles, which was taken up by military designers because it enables a rifle to be handled more accurately and therefore more safely.

“The cosmetic similarity between some sporting rifles and some military weapons is irrelevant in terms of functionality, and any potential for the criminal misuse of semi-automatics was negated by restrictions on magazine capacity more than 20 years ago.

“The current law has worked well for more than two decades, and the changes which the new law will bring in will create a black market and a danger to the public which does not currently exist, as thousands of law-abiding firearms owners find themselves in possession of firearms for which they no longer hold the appropriate licence.

“People will be turned into criminals by regulation, without recourse to protest as Parliament goes into recess for the summer.

We’re asking the Minister to put the implementation of this ill-advised Bill on hold until the issue can be re-examined in the New Year,” said Mr Prosser.


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