Second police gun buyback scheme planned for February

Author
Newstalk ZB / RNZ,
Publish Date
Fri, 22 Jan 2021, 5:31PM
Guns at a buyback event in Whangārei on November 12, 2019. Photo / Tania Whyte
Guns at a buyback event in Whangārei on November 12, 2019. Photo / Tania Whyte

Second police gun buyback scheme planned for February

Author
Newstalk ZB / RNZ,
Publish Date
Fri, 22 Jan 2021, 5:31PM

Police are gearing up for another gun buyback, starting on February 1.

The three-month programme - which will be based at police stations by appointment - aims to collect newly prohibited firearms, pistol carbine conversion kits and associated parts.

The Government banned military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles in 2019 after the Christchurch terror attacks. By June the following year, a second set of gun law reforms was passed in Parliament.

The previous buyback scheme removed more than 56,000 weapons from circulation. More than $102 million was paid out to gun owners.

Deputy Commissioner Jevon McSkimming said, unlike the last programme, police wouldn't be holding any large collection events because new restrictions mainly affected smaller firearms.

"This mainly impacts pistols, and those pump-action rifles recently manufactured or imported through permit and dealer sales records," McSkimming said.

Buyback prices would take into account the brand, make and model of the restricted item, and its base price and condition. Dealers and manufacturers would also be compensated for stock. Applications would have to be made within 60 days and supporting evidence then provided within 20.

Police appreciated the support the firearms community had shown during the previous buyback and wanted to ensure it was doing all it could to "make this next one as easy as [it] can for people again", McSkimming said.

Police Minister Poto Williams said Labour was "resolute" in ensuring firearms stopped falling into the wrong hands.

"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."

The Government has allocated $15.5 million for compensation and administrative costs.

Williams noted this buyback would be much smaller than the previous one.

"Having a firearms licence is a privilege, not a right. I know most of our firearms community are responsible law-abiding citizens who have only good intent. Our laws need to be robust enough to prevent firearms getting into the wrong hands," she said.

National's police spokesperson Simeon Brown said the first gun buyback was "merely a marketing exercise", and tighter gun laws "punish law-abiding New Zealanders".

"The police themselves estimated there could be as many as 180,000 now illegal firearms still floating around, but we will never know the exact number because even if a firearms register is put in place, those prohibited firearms will never appear in it," Brown said.

By Adam Jacobson, of RNZ