Appears the Kiwis are following ‘the spirit’ of their gubbermint’s new gun laws.
Thousands of semi-automatic firearms are being imported to New Zealand so gun owners can re-arm after weapons used in the March 15 Christchurch terror attack were banned.
Gun dealers have responded quickly to sweeping law changes which banned most semi-automatic firearms in April, and have been granted licences to import nearly 7000 semi-automatic rifles which remained permitted.
The number of import permits, issued by police, show firearms owners are keen to replace guns headed to the smelter with .22 calibre semi-automatic “bunny guns”.
The influx comes as Parliament considers further firearm regulations and a December 20 deadline for a gun buyback scheme looms.
Police have so far collected 32,000 firearms from gun owners, of which 21,000 are military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) rifles.
Only 4000 of these were part of the 14,000 guns that already formally had to be registered with police prior to the April law change.
The smaller-calibre .22 rifles, which can legally hold up to 10 bullets and can resemble military-style firearms, escaped the clampdown as they are considered safer than larger calibre weapons and useful for killing farm pests…….
Critics say the firearms still pose a risk to the community. A Stuff investigation, The Homicide Project, showed that of 144 gun homicide incidents since 2004, two thirds involved .22 calibre rifles and shotguns.
Massey University senior lecturer Hera Cook, a member of lobby group Gun Control NZ, said New Zealand should have further restricted access of the .22 guns to farmers and other specific occupations — as Australia did.