Advocacy, Community

Replica guns blanked from Classic Fighters show

A world-renowned air show has banned historic reenactor groups from using some blank-firing guns.

The upcoming Yealands Classic Fighters show has a proud history of ground theatre, with groups attending from across New Zealand.

Organisers issued a blanket ban on all blank-firing semi and automatic weapons in the wake of the tragedy in Christchurch.

The move comes as new gun reform laws which ban military style semi-automatics and assault rifles go before parliament later today (Tuesday).

Re-enactment groups planning to attend were also asked by show bosses to be cautious with their “rate of fire”.

But disappointed groups believe they have fallen foul of the new laws.

All artillery field guns are still allowed.

One New Zealand military re-enactor, who asked not to be named, says the ban means any ground theatre would look like “something from the Napoleonic wars.”

He says while he understands the need for caution, banning replicas is a “step too far”.

“All of the guns fire blanks. Some are replicas which are not firearms at all but can shoot blanks; should they even be classed as weapons?

“The ground theatre will look and sound like something from the Napoleonic wars”, he says

Army Group Centre (AGC) members from Nelson are deciding whether to still attend.

Marlborough historical re-enactment group Delta 06 Inc has been a regular at the air show for more than a decade.

President Dale Hulburt says military collectors and re-enactors are being “unfairly punished.

However, he says the group will be supporting the show.

“There is much vagary around what these laws will entail, or whether re-enactment groups will be able to continue theatrical demonstrations for the NZ public in the future.

“The re-enactment community in general is extremely concerned about the roll-on effect to all public events such as air shows, military ceremonies, ANZAC and Armistice Day remembrances.

“This is an “unintended consequence” military collectors and reenactors are being unfairly punished for the actions of one despicable madman terrorist,” he says.

Dale says such groups help educate and entertain, with many having devoted thousands of dollars to their collections.

“It is their passion,” he says.

The Garrison Society Incorporated confirmed they would also be attending.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed reforms to the gun laws two days after the Christchurch attacks.

The changes make it illegal to own a military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) and accessories which could convert a standard semi-automatic into a MSSA.

The move means there can be no weapons on display at the Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka show which takes place from 19-21 April over Easter weekend.

No one was available from Omaka to comment.

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