Bruce club official ready to hand semi-automatic to police

The Bruce Rifle Club has closed its range for the "foreseeable future" and may never open it...
The Bruce Rifle Club has closed its range for the "foreseeable future" and may never open it again. Photo via NZ Herald
The vice-president of the Otago gun club where the Christchurch terror attack accused trained has contacted police to hand in his now-illegal weapon.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on military style semi-automatic (MSSA) firearms and assault rifles on Thursday afternoon.

Bruce Rifle Club vice-president Scott Williams said he filled out an online form that evening, notifying police he wished to hand in a firearm.

He owned just one weapon affected by the law changes, but would not say yesterday what type of weapon it was.

Milton residents were left stunned after it was revealed the alleged mosque gunman was a member of the club where he practised shooting.

Mr Williams said in the wake of last Friday's attack the range was closed.

He was unsure if the range would ever reopen.

Police visited the range after the attacks, escorted by members, Mr Williams said.

In recent days, a hunter who had visited the club, Peter Breidahl, posted a video on social media claiming he saw club members with the confederate flag and talking with "strong feelings" about the right to carry arms, as well as complaining about New Zealand's relaxed stance on refugees would lead to terror attacks.

Police are investigating Mr Breidahl's claims and Mr Williams would not comment on them.

Asked whether he supported the gun law changes, Mr Williams said he could not comment until the full range of reforms were unveiled.

"Not all the details are out ... I guess we'll just have to see."

Police assistant commissioner Tusha Penny said since police established the 0800 311 311 line dedicated to changes to firearms law, 474 calls were received by 11am yesterday, while 127 calls were logged in a single hour.

More than 1000 people notified police via the online form they wished to surrender a firearm.

Ms Penny said some people were misusing the form and submitting vexatious notifications.

"While these individuals may be short of productive work to do, police are not.

"In the current environment this is unacceptable."

Comments

The well planned events in Christchurch at the hands of a foreign terrorist were tragic. He fooled everyone; SIS, immigration, police, landlord, work colleges, neighbours, employer and this club. The fact is, the hateful and unsubstantiated claims that have been made about this club has increased the pain for the families of the ChCh victims and is in my view completely abhorrent. This club, made up of everyday folk, has been in existence for over 100 years and has an impeccable record with regards to safety, conduct and sportsmanship.
I wept for the innocent victims in ChCh, but I also wept when I read how the international media had been allowed to portray this fine collection of good people. People who I am happy to call my friends, regardless of who they are or where the they have come from. Because we are just there to share a common goal and that is the love and enjoyment of our chosen sport. I hope that the investigation into this Otago institution can be conducted swiftly, so the undeserved wrath that has been directed at it, can be struck from it's history and to allow the people in ChCh to start to move on.
Ed, publish this or not, I don't care, it needed to be said.

 

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