Rural community concerned by urgent gun law change process

Gun owners from the rural community are concerned they won't have enough time to provide a thorough response to the proposed gun law changes.

New firearms legislation will be urgently debated in Parliament on Tuesday, with the Government hoping to have the law in place by Friday next week.

The quick response comes in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch terror attack, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern intent on banning military-style, semi-automatic guns similar to those used by the alleged terrorist.

The new legislation includes up to two years imprisonment for selling or possessing a prohibited part, up to five for possessing a prohibited gun, and up to seven years for pointing a prohibited gun at someone.

But gun owners in the rural community are concerned the urgency of the changes may mean their voice is missed in the debate.

Game Animal Council chair Don Hammond said many rural gun owners have limited or no internet, making it difficult to quickly understand the proposed changes and provide a thorough response.

"For them to actually draft a response and mail it back to the lawmakers in that 10 day period is a pretty big challenge," he told Newshub.

Police have told Newshub 211 firearms have been handed in since the attack, but details of a gun buy-back scheme have yet to be announced.

"There will be a lot of people sorta saying 'I'm not sure quite what to do yet. The police are talking about a buyback so I will wait and see what the details are'," said Hammond.

Semi-automatic .22 calibre firearms will still be allowed for hunting, pest control, and stock management farms - something Hammond says makes sense.

"Semi-automatic .22 are very, very common in terms of the rural community for rabbits, possums and small game of that nature."

After announcing the changes, Ardern acknowledged there would be responsible gun owners in the rural community uncertain about the changes.

"I know that this might for a short period create a small degree of uncertainty amongst some gun owners, including those who possess guns for legitimate reasons, and I particularly acknowledge those in our rural communities," she said at the time.

"I want to assure you that the work that we are doing is not directed at you.

"In fact, I strongly believe that the vast majority of gun owners in New Zealand will agree with the sentiment that change needs to occur."

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters expects the next steps - including a look at online sales, and potential register of guns - by the end of the year.