The protesters were silent, but their message was loud and clear.
Change the country’s gun laws. Now.
For 50 minutes – one minute for each person killed in Friday’s mosque shooting – a handful of demonstrators staged a silent protest outside Dunedin’s Gun City on Wednesday at noon.
Several police monitored the group, after they and the store, which opened in 2018, were contacted by organiser Robbitti Stanley.
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She was prompted to hold the protest after watching a press conference with the store’s owner, David Tipple.
Tipple confirmed on Monday the man accused of murder in relation to the terror attack, purchased four weapons from his store. The military-style semi automatic reportedly used by the alleged gunman was not purchased from Gun City.
Tipple decline to comment on a debate over firearms.
“I’d rather not get into that today,” he said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said gun laws will change.
That indication of changes had the support of Stanley, who also wanted to keep pressure on Gun City.
“We want to keep going until [Tipple] changes something.”
The protesters did not disturb any of the store’s customers and attracted the interest of shoppers.
The protest could become a weekly event, she said, and urged others to take up the cause nationwide.
Hunting & Fishing, which has more than 30 stores nationwide, pulled what it described as “military-style assault weapons” from shelves on Friday.
Chief executive Darren Jacobs said this week it supported a Government ban on sales of the weapons, as well as an investigation into a national firearms register.
“On Friday, we requested our stores across New Zealand to remove all military-style assault weapons from our shelves. As far as we are concerned, they will never return,” Jacobs said in a post on the company’s Facebook page.
Dunedin, which was the home of the alleged gunman since 2017, is to host a vigil at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Thursday. It was moved from the Octagon due to the interest.
Thousands are expected to march in silence from the nearby University of Otago before the start of the vigil at 7pm.