A group of firearms owners, on November 30, protested against any further reforms on gun control after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern decided to tighten laws involving guns. Around 50 people held protests at a gun buy-back event in Auckland and reportedly carried placards with slogans, “This bill hurts ordinary Kiwis!” and “Be safe: reject arms bill”.
Buy-back events are being held around New Zealand during the amnesty and are the preferred way for people to hand in their firearms and parts which have been prohibited after the new gun laws. Though Ardern’s effort on gun control, after the deadly shooting in Christchurch that killed 51 Muslim worshippers, received praises from all over the world, opposition parties along with gun lobby groups called it against ordinary citizens.
In April, New Zealand amended the Arms Act 1983 with the aim of tightening gun control where it sought to remove semi-automatic firearms from circulation. It also prohibited the general population in New Zealand from possessing semi-automatic firearms, magazines, and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited firearms. New Zealand’s Parliament passed the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill, on April 10, to ban semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles in the country.
The prohibition does not include firearms with limited magazine capacity that are commonly used in farming, hunting, and recreational communities.
“A small number of firearms licence holders are permitted under the Bill to import, sell, supply, and possess semi-automatic firearms and other items for genuine and justifiable reasons. They will need to apply to the Police to obtain the necessary approvals in order to qualify for the exemptions,” the bill reads.
Though gun lobby groups are now against any further reforms, firearms owners, just after the shooting incident, had pledged support for gun control. "We want to support our government in any changes to prevent a terrorist attack from happening in New Zealand again," Nicole McKee, secretary of the Council of Licensed Firearm Owners had said.