In the wake of the attack on Christchurch’s Muslim community on March 15, strong calls for changes to New Zealand’s gun last have been made. Trade Me was the first retailer to act, halting the sale of all semi-automatic weapons on its platform, and it has now been joined by Hunting & Fishing New Zealand.
Within three days of the attack on two Christchurch mosques, which saw 50 people killed, Trade Me had responded to what it described as a change in public sentiment in relation to semi-automatic weapons. It halted the sale of these weapons while waiting for more clarity from the Government.
On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern followed up on comments made immediately following the event with an announcement that Cabinet had “made in-principle decisions around the reform of our gun laws”. She expects detail to be announced on the reforms by Monday 25th– within 10 days of the attack.
Ardern spoke of the need to act swiftly on gun law reform:
“The clear lesson from history around the world is that to make our community safer, the time to act is now. I know that this might for a short period create a small degree of uncertainty amongst some gun owners, including those who possess guns for legitimate reasons, and I particularly acknowledge those in our rural communities. I want to assure you that the work that we are doing is not directed at you.
“In fact, I strongly believe that the vast majority of gun owners in New Zealand will agree with the sentiment that change needs to occur. I, in fact, believe that they will be with us.”
Now, Hunting & Fishing New Zealand chief executive Darren Jacobs has revealed that on the day of the attack, the retailer requested its 37 owner-operated stores around New Zealand to remove all military-style assault weapons from shelves. In a statement posted yesterday to its corporate Facebook page, Jacobs expressed grief and solidarity towards the loved ones of victims on behalf of the company’s board, executive team, owner operators and employees.
“We are ready to play our part.
On Friday, we requested our stores across New Zealand to remove all military-style assault weapons from our shelves. As far as we are concerned, they will never return.”
Jacobs says Hunting & Fishing New Zealand supports any Government measures to ban such weapons.
“While we have sold them in the past to a small number of customers, last week’s events have forced a reconsideration that has led us to believe such weapons of war have no place in our business -- or our country. Irrespective of gun law changes now or in the future, Hunting & Fishing New Zealand stores will no longer stock military-style assault firearms of any classification or category - whether rimfire, shot shell and centrefire configuration.”
Jacobs invites all retailers and wholesalers in the sector to follow suit. He also supports the idea of a full Government buyback of such weapons, although stops short of endorsing calls for the banning of all semi-automatic weapons: “This should not and cannot affect the legitimate use of sporting semi-automatic shotguns and rimfires for hunting and pest control in New Zealand, which still have their place.”
Jacobs says Hunting & Fishing New Zealand will also cease to sell firearms online, and calls for this practice to be banned in New Zealand. The ‘Firearms’ category remains present on its ecommerce website as of today, but is populated only with accessories.
He supports the investigation into establishing a national register of firearms, and looks forward to participating in future Government-led consultations on legislating improvements to gun law.