26 Jul 2010

Gun register proposed by sporting group

12:47 pm on 26 July 2010

The Sporting Shooters Association is advising the Government to set up a register to restrict gun ownership rather than making more laws on air rifles.

The Government is to toughen the regulation so pre-charged pneumatic airguns can be owned only by people who have a firearms licence.

The move follows the fatal airgun shootings of undercover officer Sergeant Don Wilkinson in 2008 and Auckland man Keith Kahi this month.

Sporting Shooters Association spokesperson Lech Beltowski says police need to focus their attention on the people who are most likely to commit violent crime.

He suggests putting a list together of people who have a propensity for violent offending, and allowing police to target them.

Airgun changes won't work, says gun lobby

A gun lobby group says the planned law change for powerful airguns won't keep the weapons out of the hands of criminals.

Council of Licensed Firearms Owners vice-chairman Trevor Dyke says while the change is a positive step, all the legislation in the world won't stop criminals from getting firearms illegally - as they do now.

Mr Wilkinson's mother Beverly Lawrie though welcoming the new restriction, says criminals will still find ways to obtain the powerful airguns.

No magic shield, says Collins

Police Minister Judith Collins told Morning Report the crackdown will not be a magic shield against criminals, who will always steal weapons, but makes it a bit more difficult for them to buy the most high-powered airguns.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor says the law change will mean that if the guns are found they can be seized and the owner prosecuted.

The change will require a licence for pre-charged pneumatic airguns, but not for older-style spring loaded airguns or airguns powered by carbon dioxide cartridges, BB guns or paintball guns.

Ms Collins says there are no plans to require a licence for the other airguns.

The Government plans to amend the Arms Order 1984, and the changes are expected to be in place in about three months.