Firearms buy-back scheme strikes fair balance
Licensed firearms owners will get fair compensation for weapons handed in during the six-month buy-back and amnesty, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Police Minister Stuart Nash announced today.
The fund available for the buy-back and amnesty has also increased by $40 million through a contribution from ACC. The total set aside for the scheme is now over $200 million.
“The buy-back and amnesty has one objective: to remove the most dangerous weapons from circulation following the loss of life at Al-Noor and Linwood mosques on 15 March,” Stuart Nash says.
“The compensation scheme recognises licensed firearms owners are now in possession of prohibited items through no fault of their own, but because of a law passed by almost the entire Parliament,” Mr Nash says.
The central elements of the scheme are:
- The buy-back offer starts today and runs for six months to 20 December;
- The amnesty to surrender firearms, parts, magazines and ammunition will run until 20 December;
- The buy-back price will reflect the brand, make and model of the prohibited firearm; its base price; and its condition.
- An extensive price list will be published today by Police;
- The compensation for prohibited firearms will be 95 per cent of base price for those in new or near-new condition; 70 per cent of base price for those in used condition; and 25 per cent of base price for those in poor condition;
- The compensation for prohibited parts and magazines will be 70 per cent of base price for those in near new or used condition; and 25 per cent of base price for those in poor condition;
- Compensation for prohibited firearms will only be paid to those with a valid firearms licence. Compensation for prohibited parts and magazines will not require a valid licence;
- Dealers will be compensated for stock;
- 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;
- Owners of unique or rare prohibited items may apply for compensation;
- Four options for handing in prohibited firearms will be available in the community.
“We have already set aside $150 million for the buy-back, based on officials’ initial advice. The ACC Board has also agreed to allocate $40 million in recognition the buy-back scheme is likely to contribute to a reduction in the severity and incidence of injuries from the prohibited firearms,” Grant Robertson says.
“There is high uncertainty around any costings, owing to the lack of information on the number of prohibited items, their type and condition. Better information will be forthcoming once the buy-back is underway and volumes and conditions of firearms are clearer. As I stated on Budget day, if we need to top up the funding we will,” Grant Robertson says.
“The approach to prices balances fair compensation for people’s firearms and a fair cost for the tax payer. Police sought independent advice from KPMG to develop the price list. KPMG consulted farmers, hunters, dealers, auctioneers and gun clubs, Mr Nash says.
“The contribution from ACC takes the total allocation for the buy-back and amnesty to $208 million, which includes $18 million for administration.
“Police have detailed plans in place for the next step, which is the collection of firearms from the community. It will be a huge logistical exercise and is expected to get underway in mid-July,” Mr Nash says.
“Police want to work closely with owners of prohibited items to help them comply with the law. Many gun owners are already playing their part to make the country a safer place.
“There will be four options for collection: large-scale events at centralised community locations; handing over items at approved gun dealers; bulk pickups by Police; and at Police stations. Delivery to a Police station is the least preferred option.
“The Police preference is for people to hand-in firearms, parts, magazines and ammunition at the large community events. This will be the most effective and efficient approach. Until then, firearms owners should keep their items safe and secure.
“I want to reiterate what the Government has made clear from the beginning. The prohibition of military style semi-automatics was not directed at law-abiding people with legitimate uses for their guns. It was instead directed at making sure the events of 15 March never happen again,” Mr Nash says.
A3 graphic - preparing for hand in
A3 graphic - amnesty and buy-back operation