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Petitioners welcome gun law reform announcement

Petitioners welcome gun law reform announcement

At 11.30am on Thursday, Wellingtonian Nik Green, Industrial Designer Brad Knewstubb and mum of three Hannah Clarke presented their combined 70,000-strong petitions to Parliament for a ban on semi-automatic weapons and greater firearm advertising regulations.

By 3pm, New Zealand’s gun laws had changed.

The petitioners say they are ‘very pleased’ with the government announcement of a ban on military style semi-automatic guns and assault rifles.

“We’re heartened by the government’s response on this issue. It feels like we’re moving in the right direction,” says Knewstubb.

In the wake of the horrific events that took place in Christchurch, Green, Knewstubb, and Clarke started separate petitions to ban semi-automatic weapons and regulate firearms advertising in New Zealand.

They combined forces to deliver their petitions on Thursday. The petitions were accepted by National’s Chris Bishop, Labour’s Grant Robertson and Green co-leader James Shaw.

The petitioners had gathered over 70,000 signatures in just five days. Knewstubb said he was honoured to be representing the voices of tens of thousands of New Zealanders.

“We all started the petitions because we wanted to see meaningful change made to our gun laws that make sure the events of Friday never happen again. The fact that we’ve managed to collect just shy of 70,000 signatures in under a week is a clear signal the community is ready for that change.”

Clarke said that while she is supportive of the announced changes, she remains concerned about gun advertisements ‘on billboards around Wellington’.

“Firearms advertising should be regulated in exactly the same way as tobacco or any other harmful product,” says Clarke.

“Guns are dangerous weapons, they are not toys, and should never be portrayed this way in the media. It is dangerous and irresponsible to have these kinds of images in public spaces.”

“Firearms advertising in the public eye feels like a stepping stone towards the normalisation of guns in New Zealand, and we must do everything we can to ensure our peaceful country never becomes a place where it is normal for people to own guns.”

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