There is cross-party support for the Government's ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons, but Labour, National and NZ First have all stymied efforts at gun law reform in the past decades.

Attempts at reform - likely in part due to a fear of losing rural votes - have been repeatedly batted away or watered down.

Having a universal firearms register and banning military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) weapons have been among the more controversial reforms that successive governments have opposed.

Firearm registration was axed in the Arms Act in 1983, which opened the door to lifetime firearms licences for "fit and proper" persons