Davey Hughes says there is no place for semi-automatic weapons in New Zealand.

The founder of the Swazi Outdoor Apparel, who has a high profile in the hunting, fishing and outdoor pursuits world, told The Country's Jamie Mackay he agrees with the Government's changes to gun laws.

"Not only to I accept them I applaud them and I think that in our society there's no need for guns the likes of AR15s and AK47s."

"In fact, not only is there no need, there's no place for those guns either."


Hughes was also lukewarm on the use of semi-automatic weapons in culling animals for environmental reasons, such as tahr.

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He suggested people need more training, vetting and even psychological tests before licences were given out for this kind of work.

"I think you've got to look at those guys as well and say 'hold on' - what sort of vetting, what sort of training has gone on to ensure that those people are suitable to carry semi-automatic weapons?"

"I've got a lot of friends who actually do that for a living ... they should be no different to the average hunter."

Hughes agreed with the idea of "one gun - one bullet" when it comes to hunting.

"I think that's what hunting's actually about. Some of the fraternity have moved away from that, the true skill of hunting."

"I've met people in the hills with semi-automatic guns and I've got to tell you, they scare the hell out of me."

Davey Hughes applauds the Government's changes to gun laws. Photo / Ashleigh Collis
Davey Hughes applauds the Government's changes to gun laws. Photo / Ashleigh Collis

Personal experience has given Hughes an insight into the damage semi-automatics can cause.


"I go into a heightened sense of alert when I come across them. I guess that's just because I've spent time in some of the war-torn places around the globe and seen what those guns are capable of."

He also disagreed with the idea that the use of a 22 calibre rifle is acceptable in the hunting world, and had a blunt message for those who thought otherwise.

"There are more people shot with 22s than any other calibre."

"A semi-automatic 22 in the hands of someone who's really adept at it - it's still a weapon that can cause an awful tragedy."

As a gun dealer, Hughes is often talking about firearm laws with associates from all over the world.

He said the Christchurch mosque shootings had made him re-examine his view-point on gun registration.

"Would a registration work here in New Zealand? I'll tell you what, last week I would've said 'absolutely not', but it's something I'm open to discussion on."

"I don't want to lose my rights, but at the end of the day, this is actually not about a part of society losing its rights. It's about the whole of society maintaining their freedom."