Patutahi family want wider gun reforms after son shot with slug gun

By Talisa Kupenga

The Government has announced a ban on all military style, semi-automatic guns and assault rifles less than a week after the Christchurch mosque shootings.

There will also be a buy-back scheme at an estimated cost of between $100-$200-million, but Cabinet still had to consider issues around a gun register.

But a family from the rural Patutahi community, just outside of Gisborne, says gun laws should be tightened across the board as they are still waiting for answers and an arrest after their 8-year-old son was shot in the arm with a pellet gun just over two weeks ago.

Khan Koia (Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngāti Porou) says "I couldn't move my fingers."

Mother Kim Tupara says it was a scary ordeal.
"As soon as it came in that it was a pellet they had to ring the police, the hospital did. “I was praying that it was a stone and to hear your son say that he thinks he's going to die was heart breaking." 

The family believes while police responded well initially, not enough focus has been placed on protecting the wellbeing of their children and the wider community.

Tupara says "I don't feel safe, I don't feel safe for my kids to be outside, just scared at night. I feel like we should have been more supported.”

Khan was shot on a corner about 600m from his home. In 2016 a car was shot at in the same area but police were unable to locate a weapon and no arrests were made.

A nearby property was searched twice by Gisborne Police but no weapon was found.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kevin Ford says enquires are ongoing but at this stage no arrests have been made.

Khan says "I’m just worried if anything else is gonna happen

Tupara says she doesn’t feel the situation has been taken seriously enough.

“I feel like because - it is a gun, but I don't think they think a slug gun can kill a kid. As the hospital said if it had of hit his torso or his head he probably wouldn't be here today."

Today's announcement to ban semi-automatic rifles, the related parts used to enhance and modify these guns, along with all high-capacity magazines will be fast tracked through parliament but wider gun reform will also be undertaken by Government.

Te Ao Māori News asked the Prime Minister whether or not wider reforms would extend to air rifles that do not require a licence which includes slug guns.

Jacinda Ardern’s response "people may well in their submissions any issue that they choose over the period of gun reform as I've said though our focus really is around issues of licencing, registration a number of issues that were brought up for instance in the 2017 inquiry, I don't believe that was one of them."

The family says since the incident no kids play on the street no walkers have been using the area but they are doing everything they can to protect their children while they wait for an outcome.