Tim Dower: What's next for gun owners in New Zealand?

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 20 Dec 2019, 11:39AM
Guns collected during an early buyback event. (Photo / Newstalk ZB)

Tim Dower: What's next for gun owners in New Zealand?

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 20 Dec 2019, 11:39AM

So the gun buyback scheme comes to an end today.

Basically, and I am simplifying the list here for brevity, any weapon that can fire more than ten rounds in one go is out.

From tonight, if you get caught with a weapon capable of that, as well as a few types of shotgun, .you're breaking the law.

What has staggered me is the number of weapons out there. The latest police figures say almost 50,000 have been surrendered. They reckon there could be another 100,000 out there. The gun lobby believes it's even more than that.

So who's got them, and perhaps more to the point, why do they have them? And why do they need such powerful weapons?

From tomorrow, anyone who does have one of these guns is by definition a criminal. And given the consequences, you have to assume they're not too worried about that.

Does that imply that a good number of these people are already criminals, or at least, people with a criminal intent?

But hang on a minute, even with all these powerful weapons out there, thousands and thousands of them, how many gun incidents have there been?

I don't want to trivialise what happened on March 15th, but what I'm saying is this is not the US. To my mind, we need never have got to this place if gun licensing had been sorted out properly, 20-odd years ago.

That's the last time we had any kind of discussion about a proper register, linking individual weapons to gun owners and preventing the importation of these killing machines from the get go.

But that's academic. What matters is where to from here.

I suspect police know who's got a lot of the outstanding, un-surrendered guns, and where they are. And I suspect they'll be moving in pretty quickly, maybe as soon as the weekend, to seize as many as they can.

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