Gun owners protest buyback events

Licenced firearms owners around the country are set to picket outside gun buyback events, claiming  police are mismanaging the process when it comes to issuing gun permits.

Ashburton protest organiser Stewart Hydes says gun owners are being made out to be criminals and being punished for something they did not do.

"The police are to blame for failing to properly vet the Christchurch gunman," he told Newshub. "It's clear that particular individual should never have been issued with a firearms licence."

Protests are taking place in Auckland, Christchurch, Alexandra and Dunedin.

The Government banned many military-style weapons in the wake of the March terror attack in Christchurch, which cost 51 people their lives. Owners have been able to hand them over in exchange for cash. 

A second round of law changes is expected to see the creation of a gun register and tighten the vetting process.

"Policy advisors and legislators are to blame for failing to make sure the firearms he used were not as heavily restricted as other military-style semi-automatic firearms were," said Hydes, who will lead the protest in Ashburton along the main street at 10am, prior to the town's Santa parade.

"Essentially we're targeting our protest in Ashburton and Christchurch. That's 40,000 people, plus their supporters. We think there are probably 150,000 people that are our audience." 

The Mongrel Mob this week also hit out at the Government's changes, saying they were "racist" because police were getting access to more weapons and they - a predominantly Māori gang - weren't.