Gun auction buyers at school strictly vetted

3:03 pm on 10 October 2017

An auction including military-style weapons at a Wellington school is only open to buyers with strictly vetted collectors' licences, gun owners say.

St Patricks College in Kilbirnie is due to host the two-day auction this weekend, which includes military-grade weapons as well as uniforms, cameras, helmets and models.

The school said the hall had been hired out for the privately-run militaria auction for the past 25 years, without incident or outcry from parents or students.

Michael Dowling, spokesperson for the Council of Licensed Firearm Owners, said of the 1800 lots at the auction, about 10 were restricted firearms.

It was possible to collect restricted arms such as machine guns, but it required a firearms licence and an additional endorsement with support from referees, Mr Dowling said.

Such guns were used by collectors or for theatrical purposes, and were converted to only fire blanks, he said.

It is illegal to fire automatic firearms for recreational purposes, but some semi-automatics could be used with the appropriate licence.