Gun shops in Hawke's Bay say they haven't sold out of firearms after claims people were arming themselves in response to escalating looting after Cyclone Gabrielle.
The claims were brought to the attention of Police Minister Stuart Nash on Tuesday night by some of the nearly 200 residents who packed into a community meeting in Napier.
One resident told the meeting he was fearful something bad would happen with so many people being armed.
"We went into the local gun shop… they have virtually sold out of shotguns," he said. "A lot of people are armed and you are dreaming if you think they're not."
Newshub put those claims to Hawke's Bay's gun stores.
"We have not sold a single shotgun since we reopened after the flooding a week ago," Gun City Napier owner Aaron Smith said.
The region's other two gun retailers, Rivers to Ranges Hastings and Hunting and Fishing Napier, have also confirmed to Newshub people are not arming up - but said there remains a lot of emotion in the community about looting.
Along with Nash, the district's top cop attended the community meeting on Tuesday night - with locals telling of how they felt "exhausted, vulnerable and forgotten".
Residents said they were frustrated politicians wouldn't believe them about widespread crime in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.
It's since been revealed an incident where roadworkers had a gun pulled on them in Hawke's Bay, an incident that was previously played down by the Prime Minister, was given to police national headquarters.
Chris Hipkins apologised on Tuesday for downplaying the claims, saying the "information that I had from the police, at that point, was clearly incorrect".