Opposition, Fed Farmers support tougher gun laws

The Opposition has backed the recently announced ban on military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles and Simon Bridges says the terrorist attack in Christchurch has changed New Zealand as a nation.

"National has been clear since this devastating attack that we support changes to our regime and that we will work constructively with the Government.

"We agree that the public doesn't need access to military style semi-automatic weapons. National supports them being banned along with assault rifles.

"We also support the Government's proposals to limit the access to other high powered semi-automatic weapons and ammunition," he said.

Federated Farmers said it supported the Government's intention to toughen firearms regulations.

"This will not be popular among some of our members but after a week of intense debate and careful consideration by our elected representatives and staff, we believe this is the only practicable solution," spokesperson Miles Anderson said.

The lobby group agreed there was no need for military style semiautomatic rifles in general public ownership.

It also also supported the move to prohibit general access to, and possession of, detachable large capacity magazines for semiautomatic firearms.

"We're pleased farmers are still going to have access to sporting semiautomatic rimfire rifles, such as the .22 long rifle, and sporting semiautomatic shotguns with limited magazine capacity," he said.

These are needed for control of small, mobile pest species often found in groups "where quick follow-up shots is important for efficient, fast and humane destruction of these pests".

But the group said there was a "limited need" for centrefire semiautomatic firearms with large capacity magazines for professional pest management, but this access should be controlled by the kind of police checks, registration of individual firearms and the increased security requirements that currently apply to E category licences.

"The surrender or destruction of firearms that don't meet the new controls will be disappointing to many farmers, and others," Anderson said,

"But a clampdown is the responsible path to take to try to ensure we're never witness to this kind of tragedy on our shores again."

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