Buyback annoys shooters

Responsible New Zealand firearms owners are being unfairly penalised, Tim McCarthy says. Photo: Allied Press Files
Responsible New Zealand firearms owners are being unfairly penalised, Tim McCarthy says. Photo: Allied Press Files
''It's not the firearm doing the the job, it's the nut behind the trigger,'' South Canterbury Deerstalkers Association president Tim McCarthy says.

He and his fellow members are unimpressed by the Government's request for firearms owners to hand over semi-automatic rifles following the terrorist attack in Christchurch earlier this year.

''One man's actions have caused all responsible New Zealand firearms owners to be penalised and pay for his actions,'' Mr McCarthy said.

''It defies logical thinking.

''There's no reason to take semi-automatic rifles away.

''What that man did in Christchurch was despicable, but it wasn't a New Zealander who did it.

''It was someone who came to New Zealand to do it.''

Mr McCarthy said gun owners felt ''aggrieved'' at what had happened.

He did not know how many of the 250 association members would be affected by the Government's buy-back and amnesty.

''We've got a club of firearm users who do various kinds of shooting - long distance, competition shooting. At the end of the day it's all sport.

''The type of weapon used is an individual choice and we're seeing semi-automatics being thrown under the bus.

''We're going to comply with the law because we're law-abiding people, but we're not happy.''

Police Minister Stuart Nash said there had been a ''noticeable'' increase in the number of firearms handed in or declared since the buyback details were announced.

''More than 840 firearms have now been handed in.

''Owners have declared their intention to surrender almost 8000 further firearms, via online forms. Around 3000 of these weapons are not for compensation but are being surrendered as part of the amnesty.

''In addition, more than 1300 unlawful firearms have been seized by police during enforcement operations since March. Many of these weapons are from gangs and offenders without firearms licences.''

Mr Nash said he was grateful Federated Farmers, Rural Women, the Deerstalkers Association and dealer networks were informing the public of what was required.

Owners were being encouraged to prepare before going to a collection centre and most details could be completed online.

Firearms owners have been asked to bring their reference numbers, bank account details, firearms licences and photo IDs to a collection centre, with the firearms cleared of ammunition and in safe carry bags.

''Where appropriate, firearms will be disabled soon after collection and then transported for secure destruction,'' Mr Nash said.

Almost 200 buyback events have been organised around the country for the first three months of the amnesty, which began at Riccarton's racecourse's Showgate room on Saturday.

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