Auckland CBD shooting: Fresh questions about NZ gun control regime surface

Fresh questions about our gun control regime are surfacing following the devastating events in Auckland's CBD on Thursday morning. 

Police have confirmed the firearm used by the shooter was not one of those banned following the March 15 terror attacks, but the gunman did not hold a firearms licence and was on home detention for convictions that should prevent him from accessing guns. 

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the Prime Minister wanted to know what was the gun? Was it legal? Was it a banned weapon?

"I did ask a few questions about the nature of the shotgun," said Chris Hipkins.

"There are some pump action shotguns that can be legitimately purchased. I don't have information on whether the firearm in question falls into that category or into the category of one of the banned weapons." 

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the weapon was a shotgun, but "not a prohibited weapon". 

"However, the individual does not have a firearms licence so clearly he should not have possessed it," he said.

Add to that the gunman was on home detention, fitted with an ankle bracelet.

"The offender is the subject of a sentence of home detention, however, he had an exemption to work at the site, so there is no indication at this stage of a breach," said Coster. 

Justice Minister Kiri Allan said there wasn't a "complete picture" yet as to what measures were in place.

Matu Reid was sentenced to home detention back in March for family violence offences. Those offences prevent someone from being able to obtain a firearms licence.

"The individual is known for primarily family violence history," said Coster.

"There is nothing to suggest he has presented a higher level risk than what was indicated by that."

Coster said there had been previous searches of the offender's property.

"We have certainly never found him in possession of a firearm."

The Government launched its firearms register in June, the final piece of the gun control puzzle they implemented following the March 15 terror attacks.

The aim is to track guns so they don't end up in the arms of criminals. 

"I'm really interested to know where this firearm came from," said Police Association President Chris Cahill.

"Obviously it's really early days for the gun registry and one of the key goals of that is to understand where firearms come from."

The Prime Minister said it's "too early" to say whether there needed to be another look at gun reform.

It's a sentiment shared by politicians across the aisle.

National leader Christopher Luxon said New Zealanders would have a lot of questions, but it's not the right time to get into it.

"Today is not a day for politics."

ACT's David Seymour said: "Clearly, there will be serious questions".

"How could such a person convicted of domestic violence be out on home detention and how could such a person, who was clearly not fit and proper, procure a firearm? I think it's really important we understand all of the facts around that."

Police believe the man was not politically or ideologically motivated. There is also no wider national security risk, they say.

Rather his motivation was more personal

"We believe it's connected to work at the site but I can't go into more detail than that," said Coster.

As the details become clearer, the questions that need answers will too.