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Gun mega-store to open in New Zealand’s Christchurch despite public backlash

New Zealand’s Christchurch is set to be the location of a new weapons megastore, but people aren’t happy, saying they don’t want guns around after 51 people died in mosque shootings last March.

People living near the site of the proposed gun store told local media that they were far from happy at the prospect of having it spring up at their doorstep.

“We had such a big incident in New Zealand with guns. I don’t think many people will be very comfortable to have guns around their homes in a residential area,” one of the locals, Harry Singh, told Radio New Zealand, adding that authorities “should have at least informed us before, or they should have taken public opinion [into account].”

“It’s bad taste so soon after the March 15 event,” Christchurch community advocate Mark Peters told 1 NEWS. The store is set to open in August.

Locals on Twitter agreed, echoing the ‘bad taste’ comment.

There were others, however, who think the business is “perfectly entitled to open a shop in the location” and it’s unrealistic to expect a business owner to advertise “all over” and ask for public opinion simply to set up shop.

In a statement, the Christchurch City Council said that while it “acknowledges the sensitivity of the matter,” there is no regulation in place to prevent the store from opening. Also, Canterbury Chamber of Commerce CEO Leeann Watson stated that it is “important that businesses continue to invest in Christchurch and this is an example of a business that has done that.”

Resource consent was granted to Gun City for the store back in January, two months before 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant went on a shooting rampage that left 51 people dead in two Christchurch mosques on March 15. For the shooting, Tarrant used four semi-automatic rifles, bought at a Gun City store.

Following the tragedy, New Zealand lawmakers in April introduced new legislation that bans so-called military-style semi-automatic guns. Under the law, firearm owners have until December to turn in their now-banned weapons in return for compensation.

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