Slow Start to New Zealand's Gun Buy Back - Video of how they are Destroying the Firearms
The sad sight of peoples firearms being destroyed has been put on display for the New Zealand public to witness as the firearm buy-back kicks off in NZ.
However low numbers of firearms were handed in supporting theories of potential non-compliance from New Zealand firearm owners.
"Police are anticipating a number of people with banned firearms in their possession won't surrender them," Stuff reported at the end of May, based on internal government documents.
New Zealand does not track the vast majority of its gun sales, so the total amount of weapons in the country is unknown. According to estimates, the country likely has somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5 million guns across its 4.6 million residents — or roughly one weapon for every three residents.
The buyback, which took place in Christchurch, is the first of more than 250 planned nationwide this year.
NPR Reported Gun owners turned in 224 recently-banned semiautomatic weapons and more than 200 banned gun parts, receiving a total of NZ $433,682, or nearly $300,000, said Mike Johnson, police commander for the Canterbury Region, which includes the city of Christchurch.
Johnson said he was "ecstatic" with the turnout, which he said was strong despite concerns from local gun rights groups that gun owners participating in the buyback might be demonized.
In the aftermath of the shooting, New Zealand's parliament voted 119-1 to pass a bill banning most semiautomatic weapons,
as well as parts that allow lower-powered firearms to modified into higher-powered ones. At the bill's final reading, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has garnered international recognition for her swift response to the shooting, gave an impassioned speech. She spoke of visiting gunshot victims in the hospital and of being shocked by the extent of their injuries.
"I could not fathom how weapons that could cause such destruction and large-scale death could be obtained legally in this country," she said.
New Zealand's gun control laws were already relatively strict compared to those of the U.S. Still, the nation has rarely denied gun licenses to applicants. Before April, citizens as young as 16 years old could obtain "Category-A licenses," which allowed them to purchase the types of semiautomatic weapons that the New Zealand parliament has now banned.
The NRA has criticized the New Zealand government's response to the shooting, saying gun control advocates were politicizing the tragedy in order to push through policy changes.
Andrew Patrick, media director of The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence, said the nationwide gun buyback plan demonstrates the type of "action and accountability in response to a horrific mass shooting that is unfortunately missing in the United States of America. When it comes to moral and legislative responses to gun violence, American politicians could learn a lot by looking toward this small island in the South Pacific."
Mike Hosking has his say on the New Zealand buyback. Mike has hosted his number one Breakfast show on Newstalk ZB since 2008.
The gun buyback is underway. And like most things in life, the view of today is not the view that drove it in those tumultuous days post the 15th of March.
There is a growing resentment over the way it has, and is, being handled. There is a growing resentment over the potential cost. There is a growing resentment over the fact that at the end of it, we will still be no wiser as to whether any of it has gone any way at all to stopping another person going nuts.
It is not to say that the broad idea didn't have merit. A lot of people would agree there are a lot of guns in this country. A lot of people, even those with guns, might well agree that life can continue fairly well unabated, even when the newly-illegal weapons are gone.
But given the entire purpose of this exercise was to stop another Christchurch, what you can't really say is, this is the mechanism to achieve it. Because no one can say that, and they have never been able to.
And in the process a lot of people have, and will be, inconvenienced. A lot of people have and will be forced into doing something they don't want to. And a lot of people having been put in those positions, and with no guaranteed result by way of an outcome, are left wondering why it was all necessary.
Most New Zealanders operate on logic and they operate on fairness. The current scrap we are starting to see around pricing was always going to be an issue, mainly because there seems no other way around it.
But the logic for the entire exercise I think, increasing numbers are concluding, was driven by shock and the emotion around the event. In the darkest of days in the aftermath, an Australian-style reaction appeared to have some sense to it. There seemed a communal goodwill in place.
But I think we can probably conclude most of that would have come from the city dweller who doesn't own a gun and therefore doesn't get why you would ever need one.
And at the extreme end of the debate, that bit probably still holds up. A lot of guns out there do things that really aren't all that necessary. They fire a lot of bullets awfully fast and not a lot of people actually need, as opposed to want, that kind of fire power.
But - and we only have to look to the New South Wales election earlier his year, where the Hunters Party (they mean the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party obviously - Ed) did remarkably well - there is a large constituency of gun owners who feel that they did nothing, were never going to do anything, and somehow they are the ones paying the price for a nutter.
The bad guys aren't handing in weapons, and the cold hard truth is: mad people who want guns can, and will, still be able to lay their hands on them.
As we sit here in the early stages of the actual buyback, my sense is the resentment is only growing, and as a result, the turnout won't be great. And the gun collection will end up with a number most will conclude is suspiciously small.