The New Zealand Police need to explain why they are hosting this country’s largest ever gathering of international pro-gun lobbyists, according to Green Party Police Spokesperson Keith Locke.
Minister of Police Annette King will tonight open an “international firearms safety seminar” in Christchurch, co-sponsored by the New Zealand Police, the Mountain Safety Council and the NZ Council of Licensed Firearms Owners. But despite the apparent focus on safety, 5 of the 7 keynote speakers are prominent lobbyists opposed to gun control.
Speakers at the conference include:
•Mark Barnes, a registered Washington firearm industry lobbyist who declared having received US$360,000 from the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) in one year.
•John R. Lott, the world’s most controversial pro-gun researcher, who writes that the solution to school shootings is to arm the teachers, and whose recent book is titled More Guns, Less Crime.
•Rick Patterson, Managing Director of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI), is an American gun industry lobbyist who spoke at the United Nations last month, arguing that US and other civilian gun owners should be exempt from international gun controls.
•Colin Greenwood, a former UK police officer whose conference abstract says he will argue that the British handgun ban is “pathetic irrelevance”.
•Gary A. Mauser, a hard-line opponent of Canada’s firearms registry.
“Under the guise of a firearms safety seminar the organisers have smuggled in pro-gun lobbyists. They need to come clean, both to the public and to the participants who genuinely think that this is a safety conference,” Mr Locke says.