Recreational hunters target firearms laws

Recreational hunters target firearms laws

Target practice at the range for members of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association // Supplied.

Recreational hunters are taking shots at the sudden impact of the Government’s changes to firearms laws which came into effect April 12.

New Zealand Deerstalker’s Association former president and spokesperson Bill O’Leary said a “huge number of guys now possessed illegal firearms” as result of the new gun laws.

“While some people might look sideways at you if they’re vegans, most people [in New Zealand] accepted hunters,” he said.

He admitted the new gun laws would not change things for most deer hunters, because deer hunters mostly used bolt action rifles which are not semi-automatic.

However, he did express concerns at other effects the new laws could have.

In the Canterbury region, large calibre semi-automatic rifles were used for culling pests like goats and wallabies by unpaid recreational hunters, he said.

Under the new firearm laws, farmers would need to hire expensive professional pest controllers to do the culling work.

Recreational hunters who did culling for farmers would need to apply for a pest control license with the police before September 30.

O’Leary highlighted there were guns in New Zealand which had been used for 50 years and were now considered illegal which irked him.

“Pump-action shotguns with fixed magazines [holding more than five rounds] will need a gunsmith to amend them. Which is a big cost to recreational hunters.”

A proposed government buy-back scheme “probably won’t buy them [prohibited guns] back at a fair price”.

He was concerned that hunters who had bought guns at new prices would only get the second-hand value of them.

“For example, an old model Mini 14 [a lightweight semiautomatic rifle] in 223 calibre would fetch $300 on the market, but it would cost $1000 to replace it [new].”

New Zealand Police deputy commissioner Mike Clement sent an email to 250,000 firearms license holders nationwide last week.

The email notified recipients they had until September 30 to fill in an online application form, which would notify police of any prohibited firearms in their possession.

He said the collection of the firearms would occur at a later stage and people would be advised in due course of the process for this.

Clements email said the six-month amnesty window enabled people to apply for exemptions to possess prohibited items if they were gun dealers, gun collectors, or involved in wild animal and pest control.

Clement stressed that the amnesty period was not for the continued use of prohibited firearms.

He recommended that during the amnesty period gun owners should continue to safely and securely store their firearms.

He also encouraged gun owners to keep an eye on the police website in the meantime where information would be kept updated.

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Article by Oliver Lovell

About Author Post graduate Massey Journalism student.

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Article by Oliver Lovell

About Author Post graduate Massey Journalism student.

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