The first round of gun confiscation in New Zealand was plagued with issues, including a healthy amount of non-compliance on the part of gun owners, but that’s not stopping Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern from moving forward with a second so-called buyback of firearms, and this time the government isn’t just going after semi-automatic long guns.
Last June the New Zealand government approved a new round of restrictions on legal gun owners, and Police Minister Poto Williams announced last Friday that another compensated confiscation scheme is set for later this year.
The new laws prohibit the continued possession of center-fire pump-action rifles capable of being used with a detachable magazine, center-fire pump-action rifles with a fixed magazine capable of holding more than 10 cartridges, and semi-automatic pistols (excluding those defined as a “small semi-automatic pistols” by the national police).
“Once this group of firearms came to the Government’s attention, it was clear we had to act again to ensure all the good work done to keep our communities safe last year was not compromised,” Williams said.
“This year’s buyback will look very different to the one in 2019 as there will be no large-scale collection events. Police will be managing the smaller buyback through appointments at police stations.”
The Government has allocated $15.5 million for compensation and administrative costs.
I’d say New Zealand is just one “buyback” away from announcing a total ban on the possession of handguns to go along with its ban on modern sporting rifles. In the compensated confiscation effort set to begin on February 1st, the government is targeting pistol-caliber carbines and AR-style pistols, so a ban on “small” semi-automatic pistols would appear to be the next step.
There have been some objections to the second round of gun confiscations; most notably from New Zealand’s National Party, which recently pointed out that gun-related crimes have been on the increase since the first buyback took place last year.
There has been close to one firearm incident reported per day in January, yet the Government is silent on this growing issue, National’s Police spokesperson Simeon Brown says.
“Gun violence is rapidly spreading throughout the country. Most mornings, New Zealanders are opening their newspapers to read about violent events involving firearms.
There have been 17 firearms incidents in the past 23 days alone, Mr Brown says. This month there have been multiple incidents of drive-by shootings as well as a diary owner being shot in the leg. Two general arming orders have been issued by police in response.
“How many more violent firearms incidents will the Government turn a blind eye to?
“Firearm violence in New Zealand is a serious problem. Gangs shootings and police officers being shot at are becoming a regular occurrence. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ an innocent member of the public will get caught in the crossfire.
“Rather than another gun buyback that only takes guns away from law-abiding owners, keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals should be the top priority for the Government.
I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked that criminals have ignored the government’s gun confiscation efforts and are still illicitly using guns to help aid in robberies, shootings, and gang activities. I mean, who could have predicted this stunning turn of events?
All sarcasm aside, it should come as no surprise that gang violence is on the rise in New Zealand. If the police see legal gun owners as the biggest threat at the moment (and clearly that’s the case), then they’re going to be devoting less time and attention to disrupting the actual perpetrators of violence.
We see the same mentality at work here in the United States, where gun control activists fixate on restricting the law-abiding and the exercise of their Second Amendment rights while routinely ignoring gang-related violence in cities like Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
The sad reality is that if anti-gun Democrats like Joe Biden actually got their way, tens of millions of legal gun owners would be forced to hand over their modern sporting rifles and “high capacity” magazines to the federal government in a compensated confiscation scheme that looks a lot like New Zealand’s buyback, and the outcome would almost certainly be the same; widespread non-compliance on the part of many existing gun owners and the outright ignoring of the ban on the part of criminal actors.
In New Zealand, “having a firearms license is a privilege, not a right,” as the police minister recently reminded residents.
“I know most of our firearms community are responsible, law-abiding citizens who have only good intent. However, our laws need to be robust enough to prevent firearms getting into the wrong hands.”
In order to prevent firearms from getting into the “wrong hands,” the New Zealand government is actively trying to prevent them from getting into the “right hands” of those responsible, law-abiding citizens who only have good intent. So far it isn’t working to reduce violent crime. The biggest impact so far appears to be squarely on legal gun owners, and when the country’s second “buyback” fails to reduce the violence, Ardern and her anti-gun allies will undoubtably push for a third round of gun confiscations targeting even more legally-possessed firearms.