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New gun laws should not be linked to Christchurch mosque attacks - Muslim group

By Andrew McRae of rnz.co.nz

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Spokesperson Anjum Rahman says good progress has been made since March 1, but there's still a long way to go. Source: Breakfast

The Islamic Womens' National Council wants the proposed second tranche of new gun legislation to stand or fall on its own merits without using the Christchurch attacks to justify it.

The group was one of those who spoke to the Parliamentary select committee reviewing the Arms Legislation Bill in Hamilton on Thursday.

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Simon Dallow gives us the details of changes to firearms legislation. Source: 1 NEWS

The council said while the first piece of legislation banning semi-automatics was directly relevant in the deaths of the 51 people in the two mosques on 15 March, the new proposals and any other gun law changes in the future should not be tied to the Muslim community or to those who died on the day.

It said doing so would drive a wedge between the Muslim community and others, and would put Muslims at higher risk.

Its national co-ordinator Anjum Rahman said Muslims were still being targeted.

"Many people since 15th of March from a range of communities have been given heil Hitler signs. We saw a pregnant Muslim woman in a hijab last week beaten, in a restaurant, in a public place, with cameras rolling."

"If we [added] guns to the mix what might that violence have looked like?"

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Attention is turning to a permanent memorial to the 51 victims as Christchurch marks that horrific day six months ago. Source: 1 NEWS

She said the public should have the ability to report threats against them.

"And those reports should be checked against the (gun) registry and firearms licences. If it is illegal to say offline, then it is illegal online and must be dealt with. A genuine and legitimate firearms owner would not be making these threats."

Ms Rahman acknowledged that while most gun owners were law-abiding, the greater good needed to apply.

"We know these laws will impact them in terms of more onerous requirements. We are asking that they think of the greater good, that some individual inconveniences could lead to a prevention of trauma and harm and that we are asking you as a government to ensure that the inconvenience be as minimal as possible while meeting the objectives of this bill."

The Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom said the new legislation was being rushed, was ill thought out and racist in its intent.

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The country-wide gun buyback amnesty ends on December 20. Source: 1 NEWS

Spokesperson Louise Hutchinson said firearms prohibition orders (FPOs) would impinge on Māori customary rights, which she said were protected under the Treaty of Waitangi 1840, the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand 1835, Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 and the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights.

She said it allowed for Māori to gather as iwi, hapū or whānau at any given time, and brought into question what happened if someone under a prohibition order was mixing with family members with a legitimate firearm.

"Excluding a person under an FPO from engaging with his or her whānau or extended whānau is a blatant breach of Māori customary rights and indeed human rights."

A number of gun owners were given five-minute slots to let the committee know how they felt and all were opposed to gun law changes, stating they were not fit for purpose.