wants to raise public awareness about the Arms Legislation Bill making its way through parliament. Photo / Michael CunninghamMC080220NADPROTEST1.JPG
Licensed firearms owners protest at Mander Park in Whangārei. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Bringing attention to the Arms Legislation Bill making its way through Parliament was the reason about 60 licensed firearms owners took to a Whangārei park to protest.
Motorists beeped their horns in support as the firearms owners lined Mander Park, which borders Western Hills Drive, on Saturday.
The bill was introduced on September 13 last year and had its first reading on September 24, with the findings due out this week.
Parliament said the bill aims to establish a regulatory regime to promote the safe possession and use of firearms and other weapons, and imposes controls on their possession and use.
It reflects the view that possession and use of arms is a privilege and people authorised to import, manufacture, sell, supply, possess, or use arms have a responsibility to act in the interests of personal and public safety.
The bill enables the creation of a full registry to store information about licence holders, their licence details, and the firearms, registered weapons, and prohibited magazines they possess.
Sport Shooting Association of New Zealand secretary and protest organiser Phil Cregeen said the Government should have waited for the royal commission of inquiry into the March 15 terror attacks in Christchurch to be completed before contemplating law changes.
The commission was originally supposed to report back to the Government on December 10, but the deadline has been extended to April 30.
"Basically this is a knee-jerk reaction. The royal commission should've been done and then we could have sat down and worked out what went wrong in that situation. This is being done back the front," Cregeen said.
He urged lawful gun owners to write to MPs and express their concern about the bill and encourage them to vote against it.
"It's targeting lawful gun owners who have been vetted and not gang members who have obtained firearms illegally."
Cregeen said if the bill was passed he knew of two shooting ranges in Northland that would have to close as extra bureaucracy would make it too difficult for them to remain open.
"On ranges you have people shooting regularly and there are skilled people there with all the safety regulations. Close these down and people don't have safe places to shoot."
Fellow licensed shooter Colin Wilson said all licensed firearms owners wanted was a "fair and reasonable process" but that had not happened.
"All we ask is that New Zealanders take a moment and read this legislation, it's going to affecteveryone whether you have a gun or not," Wilson said.
For more information read more here: http://legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2019/0177/latest/LMS256577.html