Shootings prompt debate about gun registration

The recent shootings in Connecticut have generated debate about gun ownership law in New Zealand.

A Dunedin professor says all guns in New Zealand should be registered, but a gun lobbyist says the idea is nonsense.

Prof Kevin Clements, of the University of Otago Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, said the 236,000 gun licence holders in New Zealand owned more than a million guns but the exact number was unknown because only the gun owner, and not the gun, required registration.

The gun owner and the gun should be registered, Prof Clements said.

He said there were fewer regulations for guns in New Zealand than in Australia.

''We need to get in line with our neighbours.''

The regulations should stipulate who owned a gun and where the gun was located, he said. Sports Industry Association spokesman Chris Ziesler said registering guns was ''nonsense''.

A person had to be assessed as mentally fit before they could own a firearm in New Zealand, he said. The law was right because the person, not the gun, caused gun crime.

The compulsory registration of guns had been ineffective globally and when introduced in Canada, it cost the country millions of dollars and failed to lower rates of gun crime, he said.

Australia should not be looked at for guidance because its rates of gun crime was ''worlds ahead'' of New Zealand.

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