National three-gun champion fears losing guns and ability to compete under new firearms law

Sports shooters are disappointed they haven't been granted an exemption from tougher gun regulations under the Arms Amendment Act.

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National three-gun champion Phil Dunlop fears he’s about to lose the firearms he’s used to win seven titles. Source: 1 NEWS

National three-gun champion Phil Dunlop fears he's about to lose the firearms he has used to win seven titles and will no longer be able to compete. 

He's been competing with his rifle, shotgun and pistol for 20 years at home and overseas. 

Now Dunlop will have to give up his medal-winning rifle and modify his shotgun.

"This one takes seven rounds. It will fall foul of the law so obviously this magazine extension's going to have to go," he said, demonstrating the shotgun.

He believes the Government has missed the mark by failing to provide an exemption for his sport. 

It has taken him all over the world. But he's now considering a more permanent move overseas, "because there's no point me saying I'm the best in New Zealand, I want to go to the world champs if there's no domestic competition to elevate me to that status".

Dunlop trains at the Wairarapa Gun Club and he'd deeply concerned New Zealand sports shooters will lose their ability to train, and therefore their entire sport. 

While there was no exemption granted this time, the Government is promising to consider it with any future law changes. 

"If things go to plan that select committee hearing will be held before the end of the amnesty. So we'll have an indication pretty quickly if this is going to be included in tranche two," said Police Minister Stuart Nash.

Olympic and Commonwealth Games shooting doesn't use millitary-style semi-automatics or assault rifles, so won't be affected by the gun law changes.

But the national three-gun, rifle and shotgun competitions will be affected. 

Dunlop said he won't be able to go to the World Championships in August as "there's no way on this Earth that we'll be able to take a semi-automatic rifle out of New Zealand" to the event.

But he has been told by his local MP to hold on to his rifle in case sports shooters have better luck in the Government's second round of changes.