New Zealand will continue to disarm its population heading in 2021 as part of the second leg of a nationwide “buyback” scheme launched in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch attack.
The government was able to confiscate over 60,000 firearms and 299,000 parts and accessories during the first round that officially kicked off in July of 2019 and went through December of that year.
Round 2 begins Feb. 1, 2021, and continues until May 1, 2021, and seeks to collect a new set of prohibited firearms under an expanded gun ban called the Arms Legislation Act 2020.
The original Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Regulations 2019 banned most semiautomatic firearms, all modern sporting rifles, and magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. There was no grandfather clause.
Now, the government is specifically targeting, per MSN News:
- Centre-fire pump-action rifles capable of being used with a detachable magazine
- Centre-fire pump-action rifles with one or more non-detachable magazines capable of holding more than 10 cartridges
- Semi-automatic pistols excluding those defined as a “small semi-automatic pistols” as mentioned on the police website.
However, unlike with the initial ban on semiautomatic firearms and accessories, with respect to these guns, citizens have an opportunity to apply for an exemption but they will need both an “endorsement” and a “permit to possess or import.”
Deputy NZ Police Commissioner Jevon McSkimming spoke about the rollout of this second phase.
“We know from the 2019 buyback that one on one interactions and discussions with licence holders are key to running a smooth and informed buyback,” he said.
“We have also been able start engaging directly with the firearms owners we know are most likely to have these items,” he continued. “However, to do our absolute best to reach everybody we will be running an advertising and media campaign, and we will have some drop in days when collection teams are at sites for people who haven’t booked ahead.”
McSkimming indicated that this follow-up was necessary to maximize public safety.
“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.
Of course, there is no evidence that the buyback is working. None.
Part of the problem is police have no idea how many prohibited firearms are or were in circulation, which means determining the compliance rate and its subsequent impact on crime is near impossible.
To quote the country’s Auditor-General, “Without this information, we do not yet know how effective the scheme was and whether implementing the scheme has delivered value for money.”
Between administrative costs; marketing, advertising, and outreach; and the compensation for each prohibited item turned in, the buyback cost taxpayers approximately $100 million.
For Parliament Member Simeon Brown, a member of the National Party, the buyback is “merely a marketing exercise.”
“That’s because most law-abiding New Zealanders handed in their now-prohibited firearms, but gangs and criminals, those who pose the greatest risk to our safety, did not,” he explained.Ben Shapiro explains why gun buybacks don’t work and why most policies created in the aftermath of extremely rare events, like mass killings, are ineffective.
Judging by the penalties for those who refuse to comply, the government is not messing around. Mere possession of a prohibited firearm (that was legal just a few years ago!) can land someone behind bars for up to 5 years.