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Mental Health Group Incensed by Gun-Owner Comments

Mental Health Group Incensed by Gun-Owners’ Comments

Post-budget comments from the pro-gun lobby have been described as the most trashy and opportunistic attack ever on people with mental illnesses.

The president of the New Zealand Licensed Firearms Owners’ group (COLFO), Michael Reeves, says the extra funding for mental health will help prevent gun owners from being unfairly stigmatised by the “misuse of firearms.”

The major provider of community mental health services, Richmond Fellowship New Zealand, says that’s an appalling abuse of society’s most vulnerable sector.

“People with mental illnesses will feel hurt, alienated and totally used by this callous and ignorant act of self-promotion,” says Fellowship chief executive, Dr Gerry Walmisley.

“These sorts of red-neck views are grossly misleading and wildly inaccurate. COLFO refuses to accept the fact that 90% of gun-related killings are carried out by people who are not suffering from a major mental illness.

“The gun lobby has really scraped the bottom of the barrel with such a twisted response to one of the best advances to mental health services that New Zealand has ever seen. They are simply using a vulnerable group of people to promote their own interests. It’s the most cynical act imaginable.”

“As a gun-owner myself, I find COLFO’s comments outrageous and embarrassing and wonder how this group can expect to gain any shred of credibility.”

Ends

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