Gun City owner defends opening new store in Christchurch, just months after New Zealand's worst gun massacre

The owner of a new Gun City store says he's disappointed people see firearms as the villain in the mosque tragedies.

The store is set to open in the Christchurch suburb of Sockburn next month, but some feel the timing is insensitive. One resident told Stuff they should have been consulted about the store, opening across the road from their house. 

David Tipple says their focus is all wrong.

"It's so sad that if we don't look at the real culprit for this tragedy, that we're less likely to prevent a repeat."

Fifty-one people were killed in a mass shooting in the city in March. Gun City sold the alleged gunman some of his weapons. 

He says feedback about the opening has been overwhelmingly positive, and it wasn't opened just overnight.

"We began this process two-and-a-half years ago. We've had this building built for us specifically."

A community board member told Stuff there was no need to consult residents, as it was "just another retail activity".

"If a babywear shop opened you probably wouldn't be told so," said Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton community board deputy chairwoman Helen Broughton.

David Tipple.
David Tipple. Photo credit: Newshub.

Tipple said the opening has been low-key, as many media outlets refuse to accept ads for firearms. He said he had no obligation to tell locals.

"How do I know who to do the letterbox drop to? Do I do it within 100m? Five thousand metres? That's a bit ridiculous."

The store will open next month.