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Royal Commission Shows Arms Act Changes Driven By Politics

The Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand (SSANZ) has today criticised the Prime Minister for attempting to ‘repackage’ the findings in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch Mosque shooting.

SSANZ President Neville Dodd says the Prime Minister has tried to move too quickly onto the Government prepared response, and not allow the nation to consider the implications of the report.

“We, the nation, ought to consider this report of over 700 pages in our own time, and not be rushed by the Government into its pre-planned kneejerk response.

“They did that to us following the shooting, banning firearms and changing laws that we can now see were not justified by the shooting itself.”

Dodd said the Prime Minister has tried to rush everyone past the very critical finding that Police failed to follow the legislated requirement to ensure a firearm licence holder is fit and proper.

“That is something worth considering at length, because the Government has just spent almost two years pretending that didn’t happen.

“Instead, the Government legislated away the property rights of thousands of licenced firearm owners across New Zealand with changes to the Arms Act.”

He says the Prime Minister’s statement that “today we have the answers” was an admission that the Government did not have the evidence and answers when it went on a legislative rampage against law abiding firearm owners.

“Today’s report indicates that Tarrant would have committed an atrocity eventually, even if Police had not incorrectly provided him with a firearms licence. If that is the case, the banning of certain ammunition and forced sales of firearms was a political project completely disconnected from the terrorist and his actions.”

Dodd says the then-Minister of Police Stuart Nash stoked fears and attacked the licenced firearm community.

“Following the terrorist’s attack, this government preached unity but used comments to the media to vilify firearm owners. Their changes to gun laws have been nothing short of a political tool to reduce our community’s numbers and disrupt our sports and hobbies of choice.

“The findings of the Royal Commission confirm what firearms owners have long known: changes to the Arms Act would not have stopped Tarrant from committing his crime.”

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