New Zealand Gun Buyback Gets Ugly, Targets Historic Arms

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posted on February 20, 2020
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New Zealand’s gun control debate didn’t end with the Dec. 20, 2019, deadline to surrender firearms affected by the nation’s newly enacted Firearms Amendment Act. While officials continue to refute claims the personal information of gun owners was compromised, there have been other developments.

In January 2020, law enforcement served a warrant and searched a house for a lever-action .22 Long Rifle rifle photographed by the homeowner—an image included in his statement opposing the program before it became law. His wife and two young children were at home when police arrived, detained and questioned separately.

Dieuwe de Boer provided details of the encounter in an article for The BFD, a New Zealand-based website that, in its own words, brings readers Brash, Focused and Dedicated news coverage.

“Half a dozen armed police officers swarmed in the front door (holstered sidearms only) as several more ran around the sides of the house,” he wrote. “They later called for more backup as the house was larger than your average state-house drug lab.”

“The warrant claimed they had reason to believe I was in possession of a prohibited magazine fitted to a ‘.22RL lever-action rifle,’” he explained. “The officer told me I had posted about it online, which I had—in my public written submission against the Firearms Amendment Act passed last year. I had used the firearm as an example to prove the legislation was not targeting ‘military-style assault weapons’ as the media, prime minister, and her cabinet repeated ad nauseum.”

The gun was not located, although de Boer indicated officers ominously said they are not giving up the search.

Historic Firearms Lost Forever

Kath Arnold and Andrew Barker collect firearms of historic significance and sentimental value. They surrendered a variety late last year, including lever actions. Fair and Reasonable Campaign, the organization working to save firearm rights in New Zealand, explained in a Feb. 2 press releases that, “Heartlessly, the Police have refused to organise (sic) safekeeping of the historic firearms. That means firearms used by New Zealanders in past wars have now been destroyed forever.”

The pair show some of the guns in a YouTube interview. ““You can’t get that history back now, it’s all bent up,” Arnold said.

More Restrictions and Court

A government committee has finished work on updates to the law, revisions that still require approval by New Zealand’s Parliament. Its language includes a ban on pump-action rifles and shotguns and ammunition restrictions. 

Attorneys for Fair and Reasonable Campaign have launched a legal challenge the current law. A court date has been set for May 4, 2020, and is scheduled to continue into the next day.

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