Exclusive: Newshub uncovers loophole in the Government's gun ban

Warning: This article discusses the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Newshub has uncovered a loophole in the Government's gun ban which means previously restricted firearms are now available to hundreds of thousands more people. 

Edward Wadesworth was the secretary of the Linwood Mosque, the second mosque attacked by the Christchurch gunman. He was late to prayers that Friday, but his close friends were killed in the attack. He believes this loophole could be an unintended, but potentially deadly consequence. 

The Hammerli .22 calibre semi-automatic holding a 20-round magazine is illegal in New Zealand. However, a Hammerli .22 calibre semi-automatic with a 10-round is legal - and for sale at Gun City.

"The semi-automatic weapon used to kill 51 innocent people was also used to kill bunny rabbits and possums," says Wadesworth.

A firearms expert told Newshub that this particular gun isn't as powerful as the weapons used in the mosque attacks as it has a shorter range. However, it can still kill, even if it only shoots off 10 rounds at a time.

"Keeping in mind a lot of these .22s are used as tools of the trade on the farms, we felt that 10-rounds was about right," explains Police Minister Stuart Nash.

"In the hands of the wrong people, that could be 10 humans, 10 children," says Wadesworth.

The magazine can also be quickly changed, bringing in 10 more rounds in less than five seconds.

Following the mosque attacks, police demonstrated how magazines can be taped together to shoot for longer.

Had this gun been for sale before the attacks, buyers would have needed a special licence. It has a free-standing pistol grip that made it a restricted firearm, meaning its owner would need an E endorsement on their license. 

However, those E endorsements were scrapped by the gun ban, meaning this weapon is now available to every single firearms licence-holder in New Zealand.

Only 7500 people had E endorsements. 245,000 have a standard firearms licence. 

"I do not believe any gun like that should be allowed in this country... come on, New Zealand," Wadesworth told Newshub.

A blunt call, to fix up a significant unintended oversight.