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More restrictions on firearms not the answer

Select Committee misses the mark on illegal possession of firearms

Source: Federated Farmers


Further restrictions on semiautomatic firearms is not the answer to the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand, Federated Farmers says.

National board member Katie Milne says the organisation does not support the recommendation of the Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry into the illegal possession of firearms that semiautomatic firearms be further regulated and that permits to lend firearms to other gun licence holders be required.

"This is a case in which the National Party needs to back up its election promise of less and better regulation," Katie says.

"The farming community, in fact all New Zealanders, are frustrated by poorly thought out solutions to real problems that simply burden law-abiding citizens with unnecessary costs but do nothing to address the real causes of the problem."

Farmers must have access to the right tool for the job and firearms are essential on farms. Semiautomatic shotguns and rifles are the most effective way of shooting fast moving, numerous pest species like rabbits, hares and Canada geese, Milne says.

"You don't use an axe to cut down a tree when you can use a chainsaw. Pest control needs to be undertaken in an efficient manner - it is not just about sport."

Semiautomatic rifles and shotguns are commonplace on farms and offer no greater risk than other types of firearms when used correctly. Many farmers were forced to purchase modern semiautomatic shotguns to comply with new steel shot regulations introduced by Fish and Game and this review puts their considerable investment at risk.

"A knee-jerk reaction to this type of firearm has the potential to impact tens of thousands of firearms licence holders across New Zealand.

"Police resources would be better spent enforcing the current Arms Act and focusing on the criminal gang activity and home burglaries that the inquiry was intended to address," Katie says.


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