Don’t wait: 50 day deadline looms in firearms amnesty and buyback

Police Minister Stuart Nash has issued a reminder that time is running out for gun owners to take part in the firearms amnesty and buyback.

“Don’t wait,” Mr Nash says. “Police are very clear that the deadline is looming.”

“The clock is ticking on the last opportunity to receive payment for prohibited firearms and parts, or to hand over unwanted or unlawful guns without fear of prosecution under the amnesty. The process ends on Friday 20 December, in 50 days’ time.

“Since the first firearms collection event on Saturday 13 July in Christchurch I have been full of praise for those law-abiding firearms owners who are doing the right thing and for Police who have worked hard to make the process easy to follow.

“Lawful firearms owners did nothing wrong but the law changed and they found themselves with prohibited weapons. This was never aimed at them but was designed to stop another terror attack like that on 15 March.

“Since that first collection more than 19,000 people have walked out the door with more than $62 million in payments. There have been almost 350 collection events, some held publicly and some held privately to suit gun clubs and hunting groups.

“Police have travelled from Fiordland to Kaitaia, the Chatham Islands, Stewart Island and will soon get to Great Barrier Island. Dozens more collection events are planned where Police will work alongside gun owners.

“Forty-one dealers have opened their premises to the scheme and gunsmiths have also been busy modifying firearms to make them lawful, with around 780 modifications in the system so far. Police can also collect guns from homes in some cases.

“More than 32 thousand prohibited weapons have been removed from circulation. More than 120,000 prohibited parts such as high-capacity magazines have been handed in. If people don’t hand in the other prohibited firearms and parts by 20 December they will get no money and will face up to five years in prison and the loss of their firearms licence.

“The firearms buyback ends on 20 December. We will not extend it. Do it now. Go online or call the 0800 freephone number as soon as possible,” Mr Nash says.

Details of collection events are on the police website: police.govt.nz

Or call 0800 311 311