With only days left in the government’s amnesty, the compulsory firearms surrender with partial compensation — labelled by the mainstream media a “buy-back” even though the government was never the seller — has been what National Party leader Simon Bridges calls a fiasco, and the BFD here an omnishambles.
Firearms buy-back collects only 28% of banned firearms
Yesterday we exposed that despite all of the media attention and advertising campaign by the Police, the firearms buyback has failed. We estimate, based on the Police’s own numbers, Custom’s records, and analysis of records from 11 firearms distributors that there are a total of 170,000 of the newly banned firearms in New Zealand. That means that the 47,486 Police report as having been handed in is only 28% of the total number.
It’s little wonder the Government has failed. The entire approach has been adversarial from the get-go with poor compensation, a ban on export (ruining the opportunity of selling up valuable collections), and Police destroying prized and historic firearms.
The Minister of Police and Prime Minister claim the ban was to remove military-style semi-automatics from circulation. Clearly though, they have failed. There is simply no way Police will collect over 100,000 more firearms this week before the ban comes into force.
Yesterday, I joined Newstalk ZB to discuss the issue. Click here to listen on demand.
Arms Bill changes admission of deep flaws
Last week the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee which has been examining the Government’s Arms Legislation Bill reported back to Parliament. You can read the Committee’s interim report here.
Despite the almost total opposition to the Bill in the public hearings, the Committee announced it intends to fix just three of the most glaring issues: allowing owners not to update a firearm registry if a change in location is less than 30 days, providing a 7 day notice period before Police can inspect where an owner is keeping a firearm, and excluding small and non-exclusive parts from a registry.
While we welcomed the changes to some of the practical issues with the draft law, the changes will have a flow-on effect to other parts of the Bill and require significant redrafting. The poor drafting illustrated a lack of understanding of practical implications for firearms owners trying to remain compliant, contributing to a breakdown in the relationship between Police and owners. We remain of the view, like most submitters, that the Bill should be abandoned.
More privacy breaches – this time by the Police and Customs
It seems the Police are not the only ones careless with firearms owners’ sensitive information.
As you’ll see from the images below, sent in by a supporter of our campaign, enveloped letters from NZ Police and Customs allow anyone handling the mail to identify the recipients as licenced firearms owners, without having to open it.