Gun City, the store which sold the Christchurch shooter the guns he used to commit the massacre, is calling on customers to sign a petition to over-turn proposed gun reforms.
On the same day country-wide remembrance vigils were held for the 50 people shot and killed in the attack, the company – which bills itself as the largest firearms company in the world – sent thousands of emails to those who had subscribed to the websites email list. The emails ask customers to sign a petition calling on the government to halt plans to reform gun laws. “We believe that recent changes to New Zealand firearms regulations is ill-advised, partly due to the speed at which they have been implemented,” the petition reads, and also because of the public’s “emotionally driven” response to the shootings. As at time of writing, the petition has almost 11,000 signatures. The email also asks customers to speak out to “people who are controlling our destiny”, such as MPs, Police, and the media, encouraging customers to tell their side of the Christchurch shootings. The email says it is important “shooters help one another” to ensure their “preferred type of shooting sport [remains] secure”.
Since the shootings, during which the killer relied on a heavily modified AR-15 semi-automatic weapon, Gun City has dedicated a special section of its website to the sale of AR-15s and related accessories. Labelled ‘Gun City’s AR-15 Shop’, the page boasts Gun City “[has] a variety of high quality, affordable AR-15’s”, and says customers “can build … up any configuration [they] like”. Among the many attachments available is the ‘steel drum’ magazine the killer used during the shooting. The magazine holds 75 bullets (far more than most magazines) and enabled the killer to continue shooting without having to stop to reload. It has since been identified as a major security risk –
Gun City’s actions come in response to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s proposed gun reforms. The reforms would ban military-style, semi-automatic weapons, and implement a buy-back scheme which would encourage current owners to return their weapons in exchange for a sum of money. The reforms are expected to be implemented on the 12th of April, when a bill detailing the changes will be presented to Parliament.*