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Where are the Pictures of Confiscated/Turned in Guns in New Zealand?

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Article first appeared at Ammoland.com

U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- On 15 March 2019, a political terrorist attacked two mosques located in Christchurch, New Zealand. He killed 51 people and wounded many more. The far-left government of Jacinda Ardem immediately set on a course to ban semi-automatic firearms in New Zealand. Those opposed were shouted down. The government censor worked hard to keep the public from reading the manifesto published by the terrorist. That conveniently prevented people from knowing that gun confiscation was one of his goals. When academic John Lott pointed this out on Twitter, he was banned.

Initial reports were few guns were being turned in, partly because of doubts about the accuracy of compensation the government was willing to pay.

The picture above is from the first turn-in event at the Riccarton Racecourse in Christchurch, New Zealand, on July 13th, at the first event of the turn-in.

224 firearms were turned in at that event, as well as 217 accessories.  Legal gun owners had registered 905 guns on line to be turned in.  169 gun owners showed up. Compensation paid for guns and accessories was $433,682 NZ dollars. The highest compensation paid to one gun owner was $13,000 NZ dollars.  The total averages to a bit less than $2000 per gun (NZ).

Since the initial legislation, the NZ Prime Minister has put forward a test balloon pushing the idea of mandatory gun registration, in part, because the government does not know who has the guns they want to ban.  The P.M. claimed this was the plan all along. It is hard to believe. From stuff.co.nz:

Firearm owners will have to register their guns amid the largest changes to gun laws in decades.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced details of the firearm law overhaul on Monday, saying it would come with a message ingrained in law: firearm ownership is a privilege and not a right.

Ardern said New Zealand had reached a “new normal around firearms” after the March 15 terror attack.

The Government is seeking cross-party support the latest reform effort, but already resistance to the a firearm register – a contentious measure linking gun serial numbers to licence holders – is fomenting.

When gun owners see guns being confiscated, they tend to resist gun registration. It limits their options. There are always some gun owners who are eager to turn in guns. Many are people who inherited guns, as well as those who no longer use them. Before the beginning of the confiscation/compensation scheme, legal gun owners had registered eight thousand firearms to be turned in. 905 guns had been scheduled for the event in Christchurch, but only 224 showed up. It is likely the guns that did not show up, would be turned in for compensation later, as they were already identified.

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One month after the confiscation began, a bit over 10,000 firearms had been turned in.

8,000 guns had been registered online to be turned in before the start of the confiscation/compensation scheme. We do not know how many of the 10,000+ guns now turned in, consisted of the 8,000 that had been registered online to be turned in. It may be a large proportion.

Nicole McKee, spokeswoman for the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners estimated the vast majority of banned guns are not being turned in. From stuff.co.nz:

Only the most law-abiding firearm owners would show up, leaving New Zealand “less safe than on March 15” with “hundreds of thousands” of firearms still at large.

“Perhaps the greatest tragedy is the Government’s decision to exclude illegally-held firearms from the buyback. It appears to be telling law-abiding firearm owners ‘line up’, while telling criminals ‘keep doing what you’re doing,” he said in a statement.

Council of Licensed Firearms Owners (Colfo) spokeswoman Nicole McKee earlier said some owners were concerned about safety and most were unhappy with the compensation package that was worked out on wholesale rates rather than retail prices.

She said Colfo estimated 250,000 to 300,000 banned firearms were in circulation, but only 8000 firearms had been notified on the police’s online system.

Compensation is limited to legal gun owners. The New Zealand gun confiscation/compensation scheme will end on 20 December 2019. Over $200 million NZ has been allocated for compensation.

When Australia passed a somewhat similar law 23 years ago, the police and politicians hailed it as a great success. They crowed about the piles of sporting guns being destroyed. They showed small mountains of guns that had been turned in. The pictures were everywhere.

Admittedly, the New Zealand numbers are very small compared to the Australian version of gun destruction. 10,000 compared to 650,000. 10,000 is still a respectable pile of firearms.

Where are the pictures?

In the United States, when voluntary gun turn-ins are arranged, the organizers invite the media to take pictures and celebrate the destruction of the valuable items. We are not seeing many pictures from New Zealand. We are only seeing a few, very select, pictures.

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The compensation is limited to guns that have been banned. But not all banned guns need to be destroyed. In addition to compensation and destruction,  the government is willing to pay up to $300 to make guns legal under the law. From loc.gov:

A new option allows owners of some prohibited firearms to have them modified by approved gunsmiths to make them lawful, with costs up to $300 met by the Crown;

It is not clear, exactly, what modifications are accepted. One option considered, was to have guns converted from semi-automatic to manual operation. Another option would be to reduce the size of the magazine on semi-automatic .22 rifles, or shotguns.

There are several potential reasons why we are not seeing pictures of piles of guns being turned in for compensation, in New Zealand.

First: The turn-in events are being held in many, widely dispersed locations. The number of guns at each location is probably less than a couple of hundred.

Second: The police may not be not interested in the propaganda value of the pictures. They may see the whole issue as silly and rather embarrassing.

Third: Many of the guns being “turned-in” are being sent to gunsmiths to be altered to meet the requirements of the new law. With up to $300 NZ is being allowed for this purpose, it would be an attractive option for many, and could save the government money.

At the end of January, we should know how many guns have been turned in, and if the police will post photos of the thousands of guns to be destroyed.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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