Police warning on new weapons rules

23:05, Aug 18 2009
ILLEGAL WEAPON:  New Plymouth police arms officer Vaughan Watson with a rifle that would now be considered a  military-style semi-automatic under a new interpretation introduced this week.
ILLEGAL WEAPON: New Plymouth police arms officer Vaughan Watson with a rifle that would now be considered a military-style semi-automatic under a new interpretation introduced this week.

Taranaki firearm owners are being warned to check their weapons or face prosecution.

This week police introduced a new interpretation of what was defined as a military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) firearm.

New Plymouth police arms officer Vaughan Watson said owners of these firearms now had until March 31, 2010, to obtain an E endorsement on their firearms licence, dispose of the weapons or convert the firearm so it does not have a military pattern free-standing pistol grip.

"After that prosecutions will take place if people are found with firearms that come outside the definition," Mr Watson said.

The new interpretation defines any gun that can be held with a solid grip with one hand as a MSSA and police did not want military style weapons in the hands of unlicensed people.

"The military doesn't shoot pigs and deer, generally," Mr Watson said.

Police took legal advice on the definition of a MSSA after gun owners started to make alterations to firearms, attempting to flout the law.

Mr Watson did not know how many illegal weapons were in the region.

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