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NZ gun lobby gears up to fight semi-automatic weapons ban

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Philip Alpers, who runs a global database on gun policy, says the firearms lobby in New Zealand has systematically defeated every proposal for change over the last 25 years.

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“All of the delays, the obfuscation, the interminable demands for more consultations, the need for another investigation – all that has come from the gun lobby,” he said on Radio New Zealand today.

“The fight has only just begun.”

Nicole McKee, secretary of the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners, has indicated he is right.

“We are not terrorists and should not be punished for what some nutter extremist who has come into our country has done,” she said after the government announced that semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles were going to be banned by law.

McKee said her organisation agreed that gun laws needed tightening, but more time was needed for consultation and investigation.

The council will be able to put its case to a parliamentary committee when the legislation is processed, but police minister Stuart Nash doesn’t believe it will be able to influence the outcome.

“The opposition has come out in support of this, Federated Farmers supports it, so does Fish and Game and Hunting and Fishing – there are very few New Zealanders who think that banning semi-automatics and assault rifles is the wrong way to go.”

He had a simple answer to demands for more time: “The prime minister has said this will be passed by April 11.”

Police Association president Chris Cahill said the legislative process should be swift.

“There is no place in the upcoming debate for the radical gun lobby, which has made its presence felt in previous attempts to make our country safer”, he said.

Tim Fischer, Australia’s deputy prime minister at the time of his country’s 1996 firearms law reforms, said there was fierce opposition at the time.

“We stared them down, we argued in the public square and we succeeded,” he told RNZ.

“In 2017 you had an inquiry and adopted just seven of a large number of recommendations. Now it’s time to move and get real.”

-AAP

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