New Zealand's Gun Buyback Ends This Week, But Many Aren't Complying

Gun owners in New Zealand face a December 20th deadline to turn in their now-banned firearms, but according to press reports in the country, it looks like there could be tens of thousands of gun owners who won’t be in compliance with the new law when the amnesty period for possessing their semi-automatic firearms ends in a few days.

Police said about 47,000 weapons had been handed in, causing the government to pay out more than $73 million as a result.

Until now gun owners haven’t had to register each individual firearm, but the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners said there was a shortfall of about 70 percent.

The council’s national secretary Nicole McKee said the process had been very rushed and believed there could still be at least 170,000 prohibited firearms in circulation.

The police and the government “have left it really late to define a lot of those rules. From October the 25th a new list of prohibited firearms were brought in,” she said adding that that was far too late and too little notice for people to respond.

“Once people realise they are going to go to jail for possession of these firearms they won’t want to be holding them. So it will be really unfortunate if these firearms make their way to the black market because they’re too afraid to hand them in.”

The Star-News in New Zealand goes on to say that McKee is hoping gun owners will try to find out if their guns are banned while they have time, because “regardless of whether firearms owners agree with the law or not – it is the law.”

I suppose it’s possible that all those folks who are still hanging on to their soon-to-be-banned rifles simply don’t know that they’re now longer going to be legally allowed to possess them, but I have a sneaking suspicion that quite a few of them are well aware of that fact, and are hanging on to their guns regardless.

Of course the New Zealand government would never acknowledge the fact that the ban and compensated confiscation of firearms has been an abject failure. In fact, Police Minister Stuart Nash is trying to claim that the consication program has been a smashing success.

“I don’t buy into that,” he later told Breakfast in a separate interview. “There’s been 580 collection events, there’s 60 in the last week alone, there’s 52,000 guns that have been taken out of our community… I think our community is safer for it.

“I think we’ve been very clear that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are good, law-abiding citizens – they’ve done the right thing.

“I think we’ve got the vast majority of these guns in.”

If they’ve only collected 52,000 firearms, that’s not the vast majority of the guns that have been banned. Estimates are that there about 175,000 banned firearms in the country, so if they’ve “only” confiscated 52,000, they haven’t even been able to get half of the guns in private hands. I’d say that’s the definition of failure, even if you’re getting graded on a curve.

1 News in New Zealand reports there will be a “blitz” of around 60  “buyback” events in the next few days, which you would think would be unnecessary if the vast majority of banned guns have already been scooped up as the police minister claims. I expect that gun owners will be protesting at many of the events, as they’ve been doing for the past few months.

A small group of protesters with banners gathered on Dee St on Saturday, near the Fox St location where firearms owners were handing back their prohibited guns as part of a nationwide police buyback scheme….

Invercargill resident Sam Goddard, who was one of the protesters on Saturday, said he was unhappy with the gun buyback scheme in general.

He had particular concerns about the second tranche of gun legislation and claimed a democratic process had not been followed before the laws were being pushed through.

Goddard, who is from Scotland and has been in New Zealand since February, said everyone wanted a safer New Zealand but he did not believe the Government was going the right way about it.

The second tranche of gun reform involves the introduction of a firearms register but Goddard believed it would be unworkable and would put a financial burden on licensed firearms owners.

“It won’t make anyone safer.”

The second tranche of legislation would give police the power to ban whatever firearms they liked whenever they liked, he said.

About 20 protesters against the gun reform were on Dee St, at  different times, between 9am and 1.30pm, he said.

“I think about 500 cars beeped their horns [in support] and four people gave us the finger.”

Sounds like Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s gun confiscation in New Zealand is about as Governor Ralph Northam’s gun control plans are in the state of Virginia. The big difference is that in New Zealand there is no Second Amendment, so gun owners are fighting for their privilege to own a gun because they’ve already lost their rights.