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Sporting Shooters Association of New Zealand point out that ‘high risk’ firearms are already in circulation

SSANZ stands by Niru Wijesundara’s petition, and the comments made by COLFO in support of it.

SSANZ stands by the fact that there are currently high risk’ firearms in circulation that pose no issue.

Licensed firearms owners have access to a variety of ‘high risk’ firearms for a variety of reasons. C- category license holders can hold non-sporting pistols, fully automatic firearms, and semi-automatic firearms (under a parallel P-endorsement), as well as many other types. Many of the firearms banned by

Labour were saved by this endorsement, remaining in people’s safes and collections in New Zealand homes since 2019. When in storage these firearms need to be in a deactivated state. B-category allows a licensed firearms owner to possess sporting pistols of which some are semi-automatic, as well as Pistol Caliber Carbine Kits which house a pistol but enable it to use ‘carbine length’ barrels and be handled as a rifle/carbine. Effectively these firearms are just shorter rifles. These firearms need to face more stringent storage requirements much like C-category. A-category licenses even allow individuals to own semi- automatic rimfire and semi-automatic shotguns and these do not need to be deactivated when stored.

B-category license holders, much like C-category, can own high-capacity magazines, A-category is limited to 10. P-category firearms can be used in an occupational capacity, and in some very limited contexts C-category firearms (fully automatic/semi-automatic firearms) can be used, mostly by firearm Dealers with a D-endorsement for product testing before sale to customers and this happens on a regular basis. B- category firearms are used regularly across New Zealand as license holders must maintain a minimum number of attendances per year to keep their endorsement. A-category semi-automatic firearms are used are used for hunting, sporting, and occupational purposes all around New Zealand.

Semi-automatic firearms are widespread in our communities, the same firearms that we wish to use for sporting shooting are presently in the hands of collectors, and occupational shooters. These firearms are already in circulation, yet the risk is palatable for those who seek to ban them. SSANZ questions the arbitrary line drawing that means anyone can apply for a C-category license and collect AR-15’s and high- capacity magazines that are fully functioning, yet they cannot be trusted to use them. If the risk wasn’t palatable then why are we as a community allowed to own them at all?

Police seem to be concerned that allowing sporting use would increase these types of firearms in circulation and seem to treat it as the sole route for this to come about. They ignore that pistols are just small semi-automatic rifles, even allowing them to be turned into ‘carbines’ with the use of a kit that is registered to the pistol shooter.

All SSANZ sees is the overstatement of an apparent risk that is undermined by contradictions within the firearms system in New Zealand. We can’t use semi-automatic centrefire rifles with high-capacity magazines in a regulated and legitimate way yet we can use semi-automatic centrefire pistols with high

capacity magazines as apparently this presents palatable risk. We can own multiple semi-automatic centrefire rifles, alongside our machineguns, yet we as a community apparently aren’t trusted enough to use them in the same way we use other firearms as its ‘too risky.’

We as a community cannot continue to be seen simultaneously as fit and proper people, but also a risk to the community when it suits Police and anti- gun politicians such as Deborah Russell who stated that she is “fundamentally opposed to firearms” during the petition committee hearing on this issue.

 

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