Magazine cover featuring armed troll taken out of context - Police Association

The president of the Police Association is defending the cover of the group's latest magazine after it caused anger among local gun owners.

Earlier this week, the association - which is independent to the police - released an image of its latest magazine cover. However, they say it was inundated with negative comments suggesting it was offensive to gun owners.

The cover features a toy troll armed with a gun standing on a laptop. It includes the words "Gun lobby trolls: How they monster people they don't like".

That received criticism from the likes of Nicole McKee of the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners.

"A front-page advertisement like that on the front page of a magazine - a police magazine - it's quite disgraceful," she said.

"There's an obvious wedge that's trying to be pushed through New Zealand society - an 'us' and 'them' mentality.

"We have been told in recent weeks that our legally purchased firearms, that police approved, are evil and we are also trolls - this needs to stop."

But on The AM Show on Friday, Police Association president Chris Cahill defended the cover, saying people were making judgments and taking it out context before reading the story.

"Let's be clear what this story is about. It is not about firearms, it is not about firearm owners. It is about social media trolling," he said.

Cahill said the story discusses an experience where the association was attacked by trolls online while discussing the current gun buyback scheme.

"We were attacked by trolls. That is what they are - social media trolls. We are just telling our story.

"Over 400 comments from people against the story when they hadn't even read it."

He also said the cover was meant to signal that most of the trolls aren't New Zealanders.

"If you look at the picture of the troll, the hair is red, white and blue, and that is emphasising that most of the people who attacked us were from the United States, not people here.

"We are just really disappointed that people could attack it without reading the story."

The article was set to be released on Monday, but police have now decided to release it earlier.

The police commented on Thursday evening, emphasising that the cover "in no way represents the views of NZ Police".

"The Police Association is an independent organisation and NZ Police has no input into the Association's magazine".


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