Buy-back marks next move in government’s firearms reform programme

“Laws need to be robust enough to prevent firearms getting into the wrong hands,” the police minister says

Buy-back marks next move in government’s firearms reform programme

A three-month buy-back has been announced as the next move in the NZ government’s firearms reform programme.

“This next amnesty and buy-back is about removing further firearms and arms items that were prohibited and restricted through the Arms Legislation Act 2020 which passed in June 2020,” Police Minister Poto Williams said. “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.”

A total of $15.5m has been set aside for administrative and compensation costs associated with the buy-back, which will be conducted on a smaller scale than the initial buy-back conducted in 2019.

“The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms and collecting 299,837 prohibited parts and magazines,” Williams said. “This year’s buy-back will look very different to the one in 2019 as there will be no large-scale collection events. Police will be managing the smaller buy-back through appointments at police stations.”

The compensation period begins on 1 February and closes 1 May. The police provided a price list on Friday.

The police minister enumerated the main elements of the scheme as follows:

  • The amnesty is in place for six months until 1 August 2021
  • Standard compensation must be applied for within those 90 days
  • Applications for compensation for unique specified items must be made within 60 days.
  • The buy-back price will reflect the brand, make and model of the prohibited firearm; its base price; and its condition
  • The compensation for newly prohibited firearms and pistol carbine conversion kits will be 95% of the base price for those in new or near-new condition, 70% of the base price for those in used condition and 25% of the base price for those in poor condition
  • The compensation for parts of these items will be 70% of the base price for those in near new or used condition and 25% of the base price for those in poor condition
  • Compensation for newly prohibited firearms will only be paid to those with a valid firearms licence
  • Dealers and manufacturers will be compensated for stock. Applications must be made within 60 days (and supporting evidence then provided within 20 days).
  • Applications for endorsements to possess and use prohibited firearms and pistol carbine conversion kits can be submitted immediately and must be submitted within 60 days (by 2 April 2021) of the start of the buy-back.
  • There will be no modifications allowed for this group of prohibited firearms

The police website published further details on the buy-back scheme.

Williams said the government was “resolute in ensuring our firearms reform programme is stopping firearms falling into the wrong hands.”

“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. However, our laws need to be robust enough to prevent firearms getting into the wrong hands,” the police minister said.

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