Federated Farmers supports gun law change, admits not all farmers will be happy

Federated Farmers has pledged its support of the Government's move to toughen firearms regulations, however said the changes won't go down well with some farmers.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced all military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles will be banned, after the Christchurch terror attack.

Federated Farmers Rural Security spokesperson Miles Anderson conceded that not all farmers will be happy.

"This will not be popular among some of our members but after a week of intense debate and careful consideration by our elected representatives and staff, we believe this is the only practicable solution," he said.

"We are trying to tread a responsible path. The wrong guns can't be allowed to get into the wrong hands," Anderson said.

"Christchurch, Friday March 15 has changed everything."

Miles Anderson said the clampdown is the responsible path to take.
Miles Anderson said the clampdown is the responsible path to take. Photo credit: File

He said the message to farmers is to remember that at least this way, responsible gun owners are going to be recognised for being law-abiding, safety conscious and skilled.

"We agree with the Government there is no need for military style semi-automatic rifles in general public ownership. We also support the move to prohibit general access to, and possession of, detachable large capacity magazines for semiautomatic firearms."

He said the organisation is pleased farmers are still going to have access to sporting semiautomatic rimfire rifles, such as the .22 long rifle, and sporting semiautomatic shotguns with limited magazine capacity.

"These are needed for control of small, mobile pest species often found in groups (rabbits, possums, Canada geese) where quick follow-up shots is important for efficient, fast and humane destruction of these pests."

Federated Farmers considers there is a very limited need for centrefire semiautomatic firearms with large capacity magazines for professional pest management, but this access should be controlled by the kind of police checks, registration of individual firearms and the increased security requirements that currently apply to E category licences.

"The surrender or destruction of firearms that don't meet the new controls will be disappointing to many farmers, and others."

"But a clampdown is the responsible path to take to try to ensure we're never witness to this kind of tragedy on our shores again."

Federated Farmers will contribute to the Select Committee process outlined by the Prime Minister.