Police 'buy-back' rate needs to increase six-fold

Thu, 29 Aug, 2019

“Police need to increase the collection rate of the gun ‘buy-back’ scheme six-fold if it is to stand any chance of being a success”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.

“Based on import figures from Customs, COLFO conservatively estimates that 250,000 firearms have been banned, but the real number is likely to be much higher. Police also appear to have given this number to their Minister.

“As of Monday, 15,276 firearms had been handed in to Police at 118 collection events. That’s just 129 guns collected at each event on average. The Police Minister admitted in Parliament today that an unknown number of these firearms weren’t even banned by April’s legislation.

“At least 234,724 prohibited firearms are still in circulation. Assuming Police add another 200 collection events, they would need to collect 775 firearms at each, a 6-fold increase in the current rate.

“It’s also concerning that Police are paying an average of about $1,300 for each firearm, but the average centrefire semi-automatic rifle – the type used in Christchurch – costs nearly twice that. It appears the ‘buy-back’ is not having success at securing prohibited centrefire semi-automatics.

“ACT has said from the start that the Government’s arrogant approach to firearms legislation and compensation would see many guns go underground and that is what we are seeing.

“Given the ongoing failure of the ‘buy-back’, the Government needs extend the firearms amnesty beyond 20 December.

“That the Police Minister this afternoon chose to categorically rule out that possibility, and claimed that the ‘buy-back’ was going ‘according to plan’, shows the Government is in complete denial on this issue.”