Christchurch terror attack: Gun retailers and owners uncertain of buyback scheme

5:42 am on 10 April 2019

Gun owners and retailers worried about being compensated for relinquishing firearms say the government is in for a surprise when the bills are due.

A 7,62X39mm round sits next a a 30 round magazine and an AK-47 with a bump stock installed.

A 7,62X39mm round sits next a a 30 round magazine and an AK-47 with a bump stock installed. Photo: AFP

The Arms Amendment Bill passed its second reading in Parliament yesterday and could become law by the end of the week - less than a month after the Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks.

The government estimates it will cost between $100 million and $300m to buy back military-style semi-automatic firearms which will be outlawed once the new rules come into force.

If that's the case, retailer Guns NZ hopes to get well over $1m from the kitty.

A large proportion of its high-end firearms will become illegal, and owner Jim Yates said his turnover had already dropped 75-80 percent in recent weeks.

"It's all the pistol grips and the buttstocks and the rails. What about a guy's re-loading gear now that he can't shoot .223? The Crown should be responsible for paying for all the projectiles, the brass, the primers ... the carry bag. None of that's been clarified."

Mr Yates said he knew of other dealers who'd decided to shut up shop entirely because of the law change.

Dealers not included in buyback scheme

Caucas run.

Chris Bishop, police spokesperson for the National Party Photo: RNZ/Rebekah Parsons-King

National Party police spokesperson Chris Bishop put forward the case for firearms' dealers in the House yesterday.

"We want to make it clear that we think that the buyback should be at market rates," he said.

"We also think that dealers should be included. There are some people out there who have tens of thousands of dollars worth of stock. They can't return it to the supplier, they can't sell it into the market [so] they are going to be out of pocket through no fault of their own."

But the government has indicated that dealers will not be included in the buyback scheme.

Champion competition shooter Brent Millard said it was unclear whether he would be reimbursed for his extensive collection, which included military-style semi-automatics.

"The couple of competition rifles I've got, which are definitely going, they're over $10,000 for the two of them. I've got two shotguns as well - I think I'll get to keep those, I'm not sure, but otherwise, that would add another $10,000.

"And then you've got the associated equipment that they want us to hand in but they don't want to pay us for. I've got tens of thousands of dollars worth of spare parts."

Federated Farmers, meanwhile, is questioning why the government has ruled out an exception for a few hundred farmers for whom it says semi-automatic weapons are a necessity for pest control.

Gun safety spokesperson Miles Anderson said it was disappointing that farmers would have to hire licensed subcontractors to do a job they could be doing themselves.

"Why are they more trustworthy with these firearms than farmers who have been dealing with these pests for generations, in a lot of cases?"

New Zealand Deerstalkers Association spokesperson Bill O'Leary said he'd been made to feel like a pariah for owning a gun.

"People who are law-abiding gun owners have actually felt that they were coming under a degree and criticism. I really hate that term that keeps getting tossed at us - 'the gun lobby'," he said.

In the House yesterday, Police Minister Stuart Nash reminded MPs why they were there.

"It is day 25 of the largest criminal investigation in New Zealand history. Not a day or moment has been wasted as we respond to the atrocity that is testing us all."

The bill is back before Parliament today and it's expected to pass into law by the end of the week.

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