New Zealand Compliance Rate for Gun Buyback Program Stands at Less than 1 Percent

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led the charge to ban semi-automatic rifles immediately after a mass shooting earlier this year. (Photo: Jacinda Ardern Facebook)

The gun buyback program in New Zealand is not progressing as officials had hoped. After the county’s parliament banned most semi-automatic weapons in the wake of a deadly massacre, less than one percent of the now-prohibited firearms have been turned in.

New Zealand gun owners were not required to register AR-type rifles prior to the ban, so law enforcement officers aren’t sure precisely how many “military-style semi-automatic weapons” need to be turned in. But police told New Zealand radio host Ryan Bridge that “probably hundreds of thousands” of guns are now prohibited, and the Washington Post reported this week that only 700 firearms have been voluntarily surrendered.

Given that authorities estimate there are 1.2 million to 1.5 million firearms of any type in the country, total compliance to the law passed in April likely stands somewhere between 0.7% and 0.1%.

“We urge people to stay calm,” Mike Clement, New Zealand Police’s deputy commissioner of national operations, told The Washington Post.

“We acknowledge that you’re a law-abiding citizen and through no fault of your own you now find yourself in possession of firearms that are now illegal,” he said, but he noted that once the amnesty period expires, there is no excuse for holding on to weapons.

Philippa Yasbek, co-founder of Gun Control NZ, put a finer point on it.

“These weapons are unlikely to be confiscated by police because they don’t know of their existence,” she told the Post. “These will become black-market weapons if their owners choose not to comply with the law and become criminals instead.”

SEE ALSO: David Hogg Praises New Zealand Gun Ban, Chides U.S. Government ‘Owned’ By Gun Makers

Paul Clark, owner of New Zealand Ammunition, said he believes this is precisely what will happen. He told Radio New Zealand journalist Lisa Owen that many owners will attempt to hide their weapons.

If owners are not allowed to make their case through the justice system, he added, “the only alternative is revolution.”

Asked to clarify what he meant, he replied, “Literally, what I just said.”

Others seem to be waiting to see if the compensation price will rise. While the government says it has set the buyback value at 95 percent of the estimated base price for new or nearly new firearms, one gun owner claims the price is far too low.

The Post reports that gun collector, hunter, and competitive shooter David Craze is considering a lawsuit seeking proper compensation for “property confiscation.” He claims that he will only receive 30 percent of the value of the firearms he will be required to turn in under the new law and that some of these firearms he had been relying on to fund his retirement.

Officials hope the compliance rate will rise as local communities hold nearly 200 gun collection events over the next three months.

SEE ALSO: New Zealand Gangs: ‘No,’ We Won’t Get Rid of Our Guns

The efficacy of buyback programs to reduce crime and mass shootings is anything but certain. Dr. Samara McPhedran from Griffith University in Australia told radio host Ryan Bridge that the buyback program Australia conducted in the late 1990s and early 2000s didn’t produce the results officials had hoped for.

“The reality is, from what we’ve learned from Australia and a number of other countries, is that buyback programs don’t do what we had hoped for public health and safety outcomes,” McPhedran said. “The people that tend to hand in guns aren’t the high-risk people who tend to be involved with firearm violence.”

“In terms of delivering value for money with outcomes, buyback programs are generally not regarded as an effective way to reduce gun violence.”

Even the oft-cited drop in the frequency of Australia’s mass casualty events can’t be attributed to the buyback. McPhedran pointed out that while it’s true mass murders dropped after the government confiscated millions of firearms, these events had been just as low in the decades prior to 1986. The ten-year period that saw several high-profile mass killings was an anomaly in a country with both relatively high rates of gun ownership and low rates of violent crime.

“Headline-grabbing programs like buybacks may sound good and may make people feel good, but they’re not able to address the very complex social and economic contributors to crime and violence,” she said.

The ineffectiveness of gun control schemes isn’t stopping anti-gun advocates in New Zealand. Yasbek believes the government should pile on even more restrictive policies like a mandatory gun register, records of all ammunition sales, and the disabling of the semiautomatic firearms that remain legal.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 40 comments… add one }
  • Fake News August 19, 2019, 3:40 am
  • D B Cooper July 17, 2019, 1:39 am

    “If owners are not allowed to make their case through the justice system, he added, “the only alternative is revolution.”

    Asked to clarify what he meant, he replied, “Literally, what I just said.”

    And that’s exactly what will happen here, even more so!
    One commenter said he’s will to lay down his life for freedom & Liberty is law enforcement going to do the same for a paycheck?

  • Greg Harrod July 14, 2019, 2:48 am

    I suspect the buy-back rate and/or turn in rate here in the US would be much less than New Zealands, if gun hating and freedom-killing democrats manage to get such laws passed.

  • Rob Martinez July 9, 2019, 3:58 pm

    “These will become black-market weapons if their owners choose not to comply with the law and become criminals instead.”

    Comply with confiscation of your property, or go from being an upstanding citizen to a criminal outlaw.

  • Michael Millar July 8, 2019, 8:03 am

    cant NZ just overturn the Marxist Government at the next election and have this go away without a revolution with the stroke of a pen by a more sane PM? seems to me it would be stupid to turn in your firearms for destruction to a short term administrator that likely just ended her career by showing how far off the rails her thinking is. regular people do not believe the BS they are selling.

  • Crock July 7, 2019, 8:33 pm

    The government doesn’t give a rats arse about your opinions or feelings.
    They want to DISARM EVERYBODY.
    Don’t be like Australia.
    Hang onto your guns.
    You’re going to need them in the future.

  • Deigo Garcia July 7, 2019, 5:24 pm

    That lack of compliance is not only encouraging, but gave me a thrill up my leg.

    More Freedom Please!!!

  • Alex July 6, 2019, 11:17 pm

    I would gladly give all of mine when all the criminals give up theirs, and politicians give up their armed protections.

  • Ricky Tikitavi July 6, 2019, 10:44 pm

    I’d be curious if our government had the same success rate with their bump stock turn in program?

  • The punisher July 6, 2019, 10:35 pm

    you cant buy back something you never owned, so its really forced confiscation, prison or execution by fuhrer arderns gestapo..

  • John Lifer July 6, 2019, 9:46 am

    You can’t “buy back” something that didn’t belong to you in the first place. Use the proper term of compensated confiscation.
    And it won’t work anywhere. Even the nazi government didn’t get them all with door to door raids.

  • CJ July 5, 2019, 4:45 pm

    To paraphrase a famous movie line; The more you tighten your grip, the more guns will slip through your fingers.

  • ray July 5, 2019, 3:03 pm

    Thomas Jefferson said the tree of Liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants!

  • Zupglick July 5, 2019, 11:55 am

    One man’s patriot is another woman’s criminal.

    • Ghost July 5, 2019, 4:11 pm

      This should be the #1 case point of why NOT allowing gov to keep track of private firearms is of absolute importance! Never allow registration of your arms, as there is ONLY one true reason why it is done… and that is so they can strip you of your guns when ever they decide or to imprison you when you don’t or both.

      • djltx July 6, 2019, 3:30 pm

        You are absolutely correct. They say you should register your guns like we register cars, that it will lower crime rates, make it easier to track bad guys…do not believe it. They simply want to know who owns the guns so when the time comes…

  • Sparky Patriot July 5, 2019, 11:18 am

    Freedom is periodically bought with the blood the oppressed. Oppress and the blood will eventually flow until freedom is won again – at great cost.

  • Godfrey Daniel July 5, 2019, 10:35 am

    I would imagine the sales of waterproof canisters/containers and shovels is on the upswing.

    • perlcat July 5, 2019, 11:56 am

      I would imagine that the number of firearms irretrievably lost in boating accidents has reached epidemic proportions. I, too buy lots of 5.56 mm ammo for sentimental reasons.

    • cabooser July 6, 2019, 11:27 am

      Bury guns? If it’s time to bury guns, it’s already time to dig them up.

  • DIYinSTL July 5, 2019, 10:17 am

    I’m not wasting any time on fact checking, but the mass shooting that spawned the Australian confiscation is the only one I’ve heard of up to then. Kudos to the Kiwis resisting their PM’s opportunistic tyranny. No wonder that justice Ruth B. Ginsburg told Egypt that a parliamentary system of government is better than our constitutional republic.

  • Occams July 5, 2019, 10:13 am

    Good. Looks like they didn’t buy into their phony, staged shooting.

    YES, GANG: Just like the frauds of Sandy Hoax, Boston, Vegas, Orlando, Parkland, San Bernardino……all these phony@ss ‘shootings’ you all actually think are ‘real’.

    All the ‘elite’, over the last several years, bought/built bugout luxury ranches in NZ – most with airstrips.

    When the SHTF – they Collapse THEY created happens – they want a niiiiice, safe, DISARMED place while everything else falls apart.

    Good to see the New Zealands aren’t as gullible as Amerikans in the USSA.

  • perlcat July 5, 2019, 9:42 am

    Way to go, NZ, your pandering has turned a large number of legal gun owners into criminals, and shifted a large quantity of guns into being illegal items that can only be transferred illegally on the black market. Instead of reducing crime, you increased it exponentially.

  • Chester Dow III July 5, 2019, 9:42 am

    Is it just me, or does Jacinda Ardern bear a striking resemblance to Alexandria Oacaisa-Cortez? It’s damn scary that liberal nut jobs like this are being elected to powerful positions in government.

  • Big John July 5, 2019, 9:41 am

    I still want to know how these asshat politicians think they can “buy back” something they didn’t sell you in the first place. They should call it what it is CONFISCATION with a reward for being a bleating sheep.

    For the thousands of bleating sheep in Connecticut who stood in a half mile long line to register their guns a few years ago I hope a lightbulb just went off. Yep… your screwed!

  • David c Moore July 5, 2019, 9:30 am

    gun but backs don’t work. We need to spnd the money on mental health and identify the people who need mental health help. chicago has one of the strongist gun las in the nation and each week you read about murders one after another. The gangs qnd the criminals will not give back their guns and we need them to protect ourselfs.

  • Bad Penguin July 5, 2019, 9:21 am

    Before President Kennedy was assassinated you could buy 20mm canons and ammo for it from the back of magazines. That was stopped because Oswald bought a worn out Italian army surplus rifle mail order. Gun crime was rare in those days but it has increased every time a new gun control law was passed. Now the areas with the most crime are the cities with the most stringent anti gun laws.

  • joefoam July 5, 2019, 9:08 am

    I hope the electorate is proud of the tyrant they put into office. Get her out next election cycle, repeal the law and return freedom to NZ.

  • Mark A Gutsmiedl July 5, 2019, 9:03 am

    Stand strong New Zealand!

  • Chained July 5, 2019, 8:54 am

    It’s odd that not long before the staged “shooting” was Killary and Homobama and other Clinton gang members there for some reason. I find that intriguing.

    What the hell is a buyback program? The guns didn’t belong to the government in the first place to be able to buy them back and if those who want to rid themselves of firearms they should be demanding 10 times what their value is in gold.

    I am damn proud of the people of NZ for defying their criminal satanic globalist government. Now use those guns to remove them from power and restore common sense and rule by the people not an oligarchy of ultra wealthy scumbags.

  • srsquidizen July 5, 2019, 7:54 am

    “The ten-year period that saw several high-profile mass killings was an anomaly in a country with both relatively high rates of gun ownership and low rates of violent crime.”

    Yep, and in the USA mass shootings were virtually non-existent (aside from Prohibition bootleggers killing each other) back in the days when anybody who put cash on the counter could legally buy a machine gun.

  • John July 5, 2019, 7:49 am

    It\’s interesting that the gun-grabbing PM of NZ is a female who also had a child out of wedlock. It is also a given that most AR-15 owners in NZ are male. So is she a misandrist?In any case, the government of NZ has now crossed the line into tyranny and we gun-owning and law-abiding citizens of NZ have a moral duty to resist this act of state injustice, and with acts of uncivil disobedience if necessary.I\’m willing to lay down my life for my liberty. Are you folks in law \”enforcement\” prepared to lay down your lives for a paycheck? We\’ll see.\”I\’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands.\”
    -Charleton Heston-\”Molon labe\”
    -King Leonidas of Sparta-\”When the ballot fails bullets will prevail.\”
    -Louis Beam-

  • John July 5, 2019, 7:48 am

    It’s interesting that the gun-grabbing PM of NZ is a female who also had a child out of wedlock. It is also a given that most AR-15 owners in NZ are male. So is she a misandrist?

    In any case, the government of NZ has now crossed the line into tyranny and we gun-owning and law-abiding citizens of NZ have a moral duty to resist this act of state injustice, and with acts of uncivil disobedience if necessary.

    I’m willing to lay down my life for my liberty. Are you folks in law “enforcement” prepared to lay down your lives for a paycheck? We’ll see.

    “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands.”
    -Charleton Heston-

    “Molon labe”
    -King Leonidas of Sparta-

    “When the ballot fails bullets will prevail.”
    -Louis Beam-

  • Martin B July 5, 2019, 6:54 am

    Comment from NZ here. I was in hospital with a serious injury when all this garbage happened, and I’m still in recovery. All I saw was a “feel good” moment in which the politicians tried to outdo each other in their concern for the Muslim victims, with absolutely no regard for their own history nor the culture of NZ itself, nor for the life long recreational activities of a significant minority. Focusing on “feelings” and not natural justice is actually a Satanic practise, and definitely not Biblical. (The whole “New Age” garbage is spititualistic poisoning for the soul). I’ll wait until the grown ups take charge again and revisit our gun laws. Idiot children should not be put in charge of a whole country.

  • David Kent July 5, 2019, 6:54 am

    “We acknowledge that you’re a law abiding citizen…”

    Then why the hell don’t you leave us alone, then?

    • JoeUSooner July 5, 2019, 11:32 am

      Remarkably apt question!

  • Leighton Cavendish July 5, 2019, 6:24 am

    when does the door to door search and confiscation begin?
    they know who bought them and where they live…right?
    Not a huge country, either. 5M people…smaller than California in area…and isolated

  • Greg Harrod July 5, 2019, 4:51 am

    As long as there are armed criminals loose in society, I will NEVER, EVER surrender my guns!

  • Sepp W July 3, 2019, 9:09 pm

    Like here they are ignoring the real issue.

  • Bobs your uncle July 3, 2019, 12:56 pm

    I thought this was what leadership looked like. Nope! this is what a Cluster —- looks like. this is what happens when you allow Government to react to the actions of one crazy person. and disregard the rights of the decent law abiding population.

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