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Guns in schools OK: Firearms Council

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/06/2017

Firearms training in schools teaches responsibility and safety, a leading gun advocate group says.

Council of Licences Firearms Owners chairman Paul Clark says shooting is a sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and young people given the opportunity to handle firearms usually enjoy the experience.

The mixed reaction to school children in Manawatu doing firearms training last week should lead to positive guidelines being established and firearm training safety being part of the school curriculum, Mr Clark said.

"It is a skill that encourages good behaviour, just as the introduction of defensive driving programmes has improved young driver behaviour," he said.

If any guidelines are to be established - as has been proposed - Mr Clark said Education Minister Nikki Kaye should consult with the firearms community.

"This will ensure that the guidelines are fit for purpose and can be taken into any school or education facility."

Labour's education spokesman Chris Hipkins is backing the idea of establishing guidelines.

"I'm not saying schools shouldn't have a rifle club like many secondary schools would do but I think the idea that the army would take in semi-automatic weapons into schools and let kids hold them and play with them, I think that's really inappropriate," he said.

Ms Kaye described herself as "pretty conservative" on guns and hopes to have guidelines in place within three to four months.

But she rejected claims by Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty that the Defence Force visit was propaganda.

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