Tens of thousands of farmers could be affected by a "knee-jerk" recommendation to further regulate semiautomatic firearms, Federated Farmers says.

Parliament's Law and Order Committee this month released its report after an inquiry into illegal firearms, with 20 recommendations.

Federated Farmers national board member Katie Milne said the lobby group strongly opposed the recommendation that semiautomatic firearms be further regulated, and that permits be required to lend firearms to other gun licence holders.

"This is a case in which the National Party needs to back up its election promise of less and better regulation," Milne said.


Semiautomatics were the best way of shooting pest species like rabbits, hares and Canada geese, she said.

"A knee-jerk reaction to this type of firearm has the potential to impact tens of thousands of firearms licence holders. Police resources would be better spent enforcing the current Arms Act and focusing on the criminal gang activity and home burglaries that the inquiry was intended to address."

Last year all parties in Parliament backed the establishment of the inquiry, after the shooting of four police officers in Kawerau last year, and the discovery of a cache of guns was found stashed in the ceiling of a South Auckland home, including 14 military-style guns, among them AK47s and M16s.

The committee report's recommendations were made with the support of National, Labour and Green Party MPs. In a minority view, New Zealand First said it agreed with some recommendations, but felt the report targeted legitimate gun owners and dealers.