Ace Marsh can now see how walking along one of New Plymouth's busiest streets carrying an air rifle could trigger a full scale Armed Offenders Squad call-out.
"I suppose it was reasonable, I was walking down the street with a gun and people had seen me carrying it and they didn't know what I was up to," Mr Marsh told the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.
Tuesday began innocently enough, with Mr Marsh contacting a second-hand dealer hoping to sell his .177 calibre rifle.
It ended with armed police cordoning off streets around his house and the Armed Offenders Squad arriving on his doorstep.
"They [the second-hand dealer] said to bring it in and they'd have a look at it," Mr Marsh said.
The 21-year-old was dropped off at the St Aubyn St business by his mother. Believing he would sell the gun, he told her to leave.
However, the deal fell through, leaving Mr Marsh without a ride home and no case to cover the rifle.
"I had no choice but to walk back with it."
Mr Marsh's cousin picked him up not far from the shop and drove him to his house, which is only 300 metres from the police station. But people had already seen him carrying the weapon and alerted police.
As the pair pulled up at the house, two police cars, with lights and sirens going, raced passed in the opposite direction.
"I had a funny feeling that they might have been looking for me," Mr Marsh said.
Without giving it a second thought he safely stowed the rifle away and sat down to catch up with his cousin.
Then the telephone rang.
"It was the police and they were asking me to go outside."
As Mr Marsh left the house to see what was going on, he was confronted by a group of men, all dressed in black carrying assault rifles.
"I was talking to the officer and just went out the gate and then the squad arrived. The cops didn't say they were going to bring the squad around," he said.
Mr Marsh said he could now see the error of his ways and the next time he took the gun, which he uses to shoot possums, in public he would make sure he had a case.
Police left with the air rifle, which he has been told he can have back.
Sergeant Pat Duffy said Mr Marsh hadn't committed an offence but was given some "friendly advice" about carrying a firearm in public.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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