Gun retailer faces backlash over new Christchurch store
Christchurch residents are divided over a new Gun City megastore set to open in Christchurch next month, Radio New Zealand reported.
The store is located less than one kilometre from the location of the country’s first firearm buyback, held four months after the worst peacetime mass shooting in New Zealand’s history.
The shootings at two Christchurch mosques in March of this year killed 51 people, and led to new legislation barring the use of most semi-automatic firearms and magazines over a certain capacity.
They are also the reason some Christchurch residents believe they should have been consulted in the new Sockburn store’s location, which is directly across from schools and houses.
“No one told us that there was a Gun City coming to the area. They should have at least informed us before, or they should have taken public opinion,” Harry Singh told Radio New Zealand.
“We had a such a big incident in New Zealand with guns and I don’t think many people will be very comfortable to have guns around their homes, in a residential area.”
Others, like Tom Mee, a hunter, told the broadcaster it would be useful to be able to “walk across the road and get new ammo” rather than “drive all the way to Hunting and Fishing and back”.
According to the broadcaster’s report, resource consent was granted in January on a non-notified basis. The 300sqm building includes retail space, offices, a warehouse and carpark.
Gun City owner David Tipple told 1News that plans for the Christchurch store were in place two years ago, well before the shootings took place, and that firearm owners are being “looked down upon”.
The accused gunman reportedly bought four firearms used in the shootings from Gun City, according to Radio New Zealand.