New Zealand Law Society - Firearms buy-back details emerge

Firearms buy-back details emerge

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Regulations implementing the Government's firearms buy-back scheme have come into force. The buy-back offer starts on 20 June and runs for six months until 20 December 2019.

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Regulations 2019 were made on 19 June. Some parts come into force on 20 June, with the remainder on 21 June.

The Prohibited Firearms Buy-Back Price List has been published in the New Zealand Gazette.

The Scheme provides for the payment of compensation in respect of prohibited firearms, prohibited magazines, and prohibited parts that during the amnesty period are delivered or otherwise surrendered to the Police, or are forfeited to the Crown.

The amnesty period is the period beginning at 3 pm on 21 March 2019 and ending on the close of 20 December 2019 (or any later date prescribed by Order in Council). Compensation is payable to persons (other than an exempt person) who

  • before 3 pm on 21 March 2019 lawfully possessed a firearm that at that time was declared a military style semi-automatic firearm and became a prohibited firearm on 12 April 2019:
  • before 12 April 2019 lawfully possessed an item that on that date became a prohibited firearm, prohibited magazine, or prohibited part that cannot be used on a firearm other than a prohibited firearm:
  • before 12 April 2019 arranged to lawfully import a firearm, magazine, or part that on that date became a prohibited item, and the item is being treated as prohibited goods under section 98 of the Customs and Excise Act 2018; the item is delivered to the Police by the New Zealand Customs Service; the item is forfeited to the Crown; the person does not obtain a permit to possess the item.

The regulations provide for prohibited items to be delivered to an approved licensed dealer for surrender to the Police, and imposes certain recording requirements on a dealer when accepting delivery of such items. Possession of those items by an approved licensed dealer is not unlawful on the condition that the approved licensed dealer notifies a member of the Police as soon as is reasonably practicable of the delivery of the item and the dealer complies with any direction from the member of the Police relating to the surrender of the item and disclosure of the dealer’s records.

An administration fee of $50 (excluding GST) is payable to an approved licensed dealer in respect of each person who delivers to the dealer 1 or more prohibited items and who is subsequently paid compensation for any item.

Police Minister Stuart Nash says Police have detailed plans in place for the next step, which is the collection of firearms from the community. He says it will be a huge logistical exercise and is expected to get underway in mid-July.

“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," he says.

“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."

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