COLFO media releases on the Buyback Scheme & Data Breach
A-G REPORT SAYS NO EVIDENCE TO BACK UP SAFETY CLAIMS
THURSDAY 7 MAY 2020
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners is labelling the firearms confiscation scheme an abject failure. Today’s report from the Auditor-General found Police had recalled as little as a quarter of eligible firearms while almost doubling their administration costs from $18 to $35 million.
Months after the Government began its firearms confiscation and compensation scheme, New Zealanders are still none the wiser as to the level of compliance or whether public safety has been enhanced.
Today’s report cannot confirm claims that the scheme would enhance public safety. The wild variation in estimates of the number of affected firearms means no-one will ever know how effective the scheme may have been at making Kiwis safer.
The report notes that the 61,332 firearms handed into Police is at the lower end of the estimated 55,000 to 240,000 required to be surrendered.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says:
“The Government has consistently said that the confiscation of legally possessed firearms from lawful owners was about enhancing public safety. Today we hear from the Auditor-General that there is no evidence to back those claims up.”
McKee says that COLFO is not surprised that the cost of administering the scheme had ballooned from $18 million to $35 million to date and may end up being more.
“When it comes to firearms, administration estimates from authorities are almost always underestimated. We saw that when Canada attempted to establish a firearms register. What was supposed to cost a few million dollars eventually ended up costing close to $2 billion before it was scrapped.
“News of this latest overspend by Police is particularly concerning as the funding shortfall was made up from the General Crime Prevention Services appropriation, meaning important crime prevention projects may have gone without the resourcing they needed.”
The report finds that Police have struggled to maintain records of restricted firearms, losing track of 817 E-category firearms.
“How can Kiwis trust that any future registration scheme can be afforded by taxpayers when those administering the current regime cannot adequately estimate the costs of keep accurate records of current registered firearms? This confirms our position that a register is a waste of taxpayer money.”
COLLECTORS REVEAL “DEEPLY SAD” LOSS OF NZ FIREARM HISTORYSATURDAY 21 DECEMBER 2019
Two collectors, Kath Arnold and Andrew Barker, have told the story of the loss of New Zealand and world history in firearm collections destroyed under the ban that came into force today.
The ban announced in April 2019 is widely thought by New Zealanders to affect only semi-automatic modern military-style weapons similar to those used in the March attacks on Christchurch mosques.
In a poignant video, these collectors show how rare antiques were cruelly included in the new firearm ban and destroyed.
Owners could seek special permission to hold the firearms, but many applications were refused, and even long-time collectors have decided that the weight of new paperwork and invasive supervision by the Police was too much to bear.
Heartlessly, the Police have refused to organise safe keeping of the historic firearms. That means firearms used by New Zealanders in past wars have now been destroyed forever.
Kath Arnold praised the empathy of front-line police who received her historic pieces at a hand-in event, but rues the loss to New Zealand: “You can’t get that history back now, it’s all bent up.”
Andrew Barker has managed to hold on to banned firearms like his prized 303 sniper rifle from Gallipoli, but worries what will happen without private collections in the future.
“Historically, it’s a huge loss to the country. A lot of people just don’t know how far reaching it [the ban] is. I can’t see how it’s going to make New Zealand a safer place.”
Spokesperson, Council of Licenced Firearm Owners (COLFO)
The new normal: 100,000 banned guns retained by the public
Speech at Parliament
20 December 2019
Today is the last day of a rushed process and failed process: the national collection of a vast range of newly prohibited firearms from those who legally purchased them, with the licences they earned after intensive vetting.
The collection of newly prohibited firearms from people who owned them for their sport, their job, their investment - not to kill other people.
From tomorrow many good people will be made criminals by this Government’s arrogance.
Tomorrow our society will have 100,000 firearms in the grey and black markets directly because of this government’s action.
The Council has researched and ascertained from importers, distributors and New Zealand Customs data that there were 170,000 newly prohibited firearms in our legally owned possession. The Government will boast a success of bringing in 50,000 firearms off the streets via their collection events.
These firearms were not on the streets; they were legally stored in their Police inspected and approved secure environments.
With over 100,000 prohibited firearms still not handed in, 50,000 is not a number to boast about. We don’t know if they will still be legally secured from tomorrow. This is a failure that should never have occurred.
What happened in March was horrific and as a country we mourned the loss of innocence, of lives and peace as we knew it. But the almost immediate ban on a wide range of firearms did not bring us together - it drove a wedge through parts of New Zealand’s society.
The rushed legislation was followed by rushed policy, implementation, regulations and mountains of errors. Legal firearms owners became the new outlaws justifying their legitimacy, while the real outlaws continued with their crimes.
Throughout this process we have not been consulted with, spoken to or asked to sit around any table.
The firearms community successfully worked with Governments and Police to enhance our firearms laws and ultimately the safety of kiwis. Our involvement in previous firearm law resulted in nearly four decades of world renowned legislation. We are ranked number two in the Global Peace Index. We did that together, as a community.
Prior to March, our repeated advice to restrict the ownership of large capacity magazines was ignored. And now look now at where we are; law abiding licenced owners have been blamed for the tragic losses suffered on March 15th.
We would like to thank the media for helping to tell our side of the story to kiwis so that they can see the unreasonable manner and mistreatment of some families that we all likely live next door to.
What has been affected?
It’s important to recognise that a very large array of Bolt action, lever action, pump action rifles along with semi-automatics were banned in April 2019. Those are deer hunting, pig hunting and duck shooter firearms.
We were given a list of banned firearms in July, then again in August and September with another update in October.
Items that were not banned at the start and not handed in were then later banned at the end of October. Accessories were still being banned in December.
How were firearm owners expected to understand and keep up to date with these constantly unnotified, changing, goal posts.
I stand here, telling you that there are over 100,000 prohibited firearms that will not be handed in today. From our engagement with the community here’s why they are being retained:
People are hiding their firearms. If they are doing this, they are intentionally breaking the law. They are likely to remove the firearms from their secure storage facility to hide them. They are stepping outside their fit and proper status. They may eventually enter those firearms into the grey or black markets.
Why would they hide them? Because the compensation is not fair, it’s not reasonable or it’s not even available for the firearms, parts or ammunition they own. These are items legally purchased with the approval of Police. People are angry at the treatment they have received, what their families have received when they did nothing wrong.
People are protecting history. Over the last few months we have watched firearms and accessories of historical significance being destroyed. A large number are not even semi-automatics. On the list for destruction are some very old bolt and lever action rifles that you cannot get ammunition for anymore.
Some of these items are sought after by collectors around the world, but this Government has banned their exportation. Some people have looked after these pieces of history for decades. Once gone they can never be replaced. We know some owners will refuse to hand them in for destruction. Some of these firearms were hidden after significant wars and maybe the hiding will happen again in the hope that a new Government will recognise the historical significance of these heirlooms. These are not items that would be used in any mass shootings, and some of them cannot be used at all – but their history matters.
Owners were told that they would be granted a collector’s licence if they had items that fit their current collections. Some of these pieces were not restricted weapons, some of the owners did not have a current collector’s licence to add their pieces too. Many of the owners do not trust the process, the system or the Police to keep their heirlooms safeguarded from destruction.
People just don’t know their obligations. The public don’t appreciate the breadth of the ban. They think it is just military-style firearms. The infux of calls, emails and messages from concerned owners about whether their firearms are legal or not reached their highpoint with the COLFO Board this week.
Advertising campaigns were about compliance and the threat of jail time, not about the types of firearms affected. There are some astute and computer savvy firearms owners out there who have kept up to date with the changes and help educate others. But there are also many owners who have not looked deeply at it because they don’t imagine their firearm is banned.
There are reports of the Police 0800 number giving inconsistent advice and reports of people hanging up after not getting through. Local Police at times were not aware of some of the changes, turning people away who were trying to hand in prohibited items.
Could this have been handled differently with a better outcome?
Yes and it should have been. But when the warning signs of approaching disaster were showing and the Government should have acted but they didn’t.
What did we see from Police?
- From July to October the Police changed the list of prohibited firearms and parts 4 times, added a list prohibiting ammunition and another list prohibiting magazines. They should have extended the amnesty and compensation programmes by six months from the last changes they made and educated owners about the newly prohibited items.
- They implied that a devastating mistake in allowing access to the locations of prohibited firearms was okay because only one person accessed it. Yet they closed down and did not restart that notification system. They should have extended the amnesty and compensation programmes by six months while they worked through their IT issues with their overseas provider. They should have offered assurances to licensed owners instead of chasing someone to blame for their own incompetency. No-one can trust a full registration system when the newly implemented one failed them so badly. If registration is introduced in the Arms Act we expect fear will drive non-compliance.
- They proposed adding photos of licensed firearm owners along with prisoners and sex offenders with their new facial recognition technology database for CCTV. We have been highly vetted, our families and friends interviewed, our homes inspected - but this proposal says they think we are no better than criminals and sex offenders.
- Police are still not able to provide accurate guidance on parts that are not specifically listed in the regulations – if they sought advice from the community they would have had a better understanding of the prohibited parts implications.
- Police put pressure on an elderly firearms owner to relinquish non-banned firearms.
- Police have claimed that their policy will trump the law where required.
What failings did we see from Government?
- Despite our good record of working constructively with Government and Police for mutually beneficial outcomes over 26 years, this Government decided to not engage with COLFO.
- The Minister denigrated COLFO and its 40,000+ members, calling us names. We represent the largest registered shooting organisations in this country, ordinary hobbyists, hunters, workers, and people who have won medals at Olympic, Commonwealth and World championships.
- The Government did not introduce a public education/information campaign about the types of firearms affected and instead doubled down on rhetoric that the changes were about MSSAs and semi-automatic shotguns.
- The Minister has overseen the militarisation of our Police force.
- They’ve stuck to a political deadline of 20 December unlike Australia who had it open for a year.
- They rushed into Parliament an Arms Bill full of errors and unintended consequences.
- They gave Police power to ban other firearms at whim
- And most importantly, the Government refused to wait the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission Inquiry.
There is no confidence in Police to administer the Arms Act
- There are errors in the current registration system.
- There are security and trust issues of the data and the providers of the system.
- The community is being targeted and demonised by Police hierarchy.
- It is quite rational for LFOs not to engage with Police and their processes when they’ve been treated this way.
COLFO has a large membership and have attempted to provide a balanced voice for our members. We have constantly had our finger on the pulse of the multiple changes in legislation over such a short time frame.
- We offered our expertise to Police and Government.
- We have encouraged LFOs to comply with the law
- We are seeking a review of the Government’s decision not to provide compensation for ammunition.
- Provided advice on how our members and supporters should interact with their MPs to voice their concerns about the changes and process
- Sought clarification from Police about the ammunition amnesty extension and communicated this to the firearms community.
- Got the Prime Minister and Minister of Police to U-turn on their statement that permanent residents would not be able to lawfully own firearms in NZ
- Had Police correct and clarify wording errors in legislation that would have banned shotgun cartridges.
- Exposed a Police data breach.
- Has been neither fair nor reasonable
- No compensation offered for ammunition, consumables, and many affected parts
- Offering less than market value by Police’s own price list
- Government has kept the costs down because they are not paying for everything, they are confiscating instead legally purchased items.
COLFO believes this can be handled differently right now with a better outcome
- Extend the compensation and amnesty period until June 2020.
Take the Australian’s advice and offer fair and reasonable compensation for all affected firearms, their parts, accessories and consumables.
- Offer compensation for the newly banned ammunition
- Purchase the items from the owners who legally purchased them in the first place.
- Install an education/information campaign to notify owners about what items are now prohibited and move away from the rhetoric that its only about MSSAs.
- Await the RCI and the learnings gained from it.
- Start uniting this country that has been so badly torn apart not by the actions of a sector of our society but from the actions of one foreign terrorist.
This new normal that we will face tomorrow is flawed and encourages our society to divide. That should not be the legacy of any Government for its people.
TWO THIRDS OF BANNED FIREARMS RETAINED
FRIDAY 20 DECEMBER 2019
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) says two thirds of the firearms banned from today have been retained by owners because Government lost the trust of firearm owners, and Police errors lost their confidence.
COLFO Spokesperson Nicole McKee says that owners hiding valuable firearms, protecting family heirlooms, and being ignorant of the fact they are affected by the new bans is now the new normal.
“Despite our best efforts to encourage compliance, we know owners have been so disappointed by the settings of the ban, and its poor implementation, that many can’t bring themselves to comply.
“They never overcame their shock at the unjustified over-reach that meant hundreds of widely different models, even including antiques, would be destroyed.
“They never overcame the slap in the face of the low compensation, less than 95% of the wholesale price, which signalled that the Government wanted owners to suffer financially as well.”
“They never overcame being blamed by authorities for being somehow responsible for a heinous act of terrorism – something they would never do.”
The ban was then undermined by a succession of errors and uncertainty, most arising from hasty design and implementation. These included granting access to location and ownership details of prohibited firearms notified to Police by owners, Police backflipping on the inclusion of “lowers” as modular sections of firearms subject to the ban, uncertainty over bans on smaller specialist parts, and the status of ammunition and refusal to compensate for handing it in.
COLFO released results of a November survey of 5000 owners that found that the ban and Arms Act had pushed confidence in Police to close to zero.
- A sharp decline in licenced firearms owners who were confidence in Police administering the Arms Act – 0.55 out of ten in 2019 (down from 2.42 out of ten in 2018)
- A reduction in confidence that Police were providing timely turnaround for services under the Arms Act – 1.03 out of ten in 2019 (down from 3.43 out of ten in 2018)
- A steep fall in the confidence licenced firearms owners have in the Police applying the Arms Act fairly to them – 0.85 out of ten in 2019 (down from 3.78 out of ten in 2018)
- A lack of confidence that Police will take individual circumstances into account when administering the Arms Act –1.24 out of ten in 2019 (down from 5.29 out of ten in 2018 down)
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says the survey findings confirm firearm owners do not have trust or confidence in Police to deal with them fairly when administering the Arms Act.
“The high-handed attitude of the Police hierarchy has led to the almost complete failure by Police at a frontline level to convince firearm owners to hand in their firearms.”
Survey participants described the frustration of dealing with the Police. This included cases of firearms being registered to the wrong licence-holder, inspections of security being completed over the phone rather than in-person, people waiting two years for security inspections in new premises, and instances where frontline Police have asked firearms owners to get the latest information on the changes.
FINAL WEEKS OF FIREARMS HAND-IN AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER
WEDNESDAY 18 DECEMBER 2019
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) says the human error behind the availability of highly sensitive firearm location data held by Police has marred the final weeks of one of the Government’s biggest actions in 2019 – its response to the March attacks on Christchurch mosques.
It may now never be known how many people viewed the private data held on a Police website for owners to notify that they held prohibited firearms. But it is clear the database was mistakenly opened to unauthorised people, leading the Police to be sufficiently uncertain of the system’s security to shut it down for the essential final weeks of the hand-in.
Lawyers for COLFO formally wrote to Police yesterday on what it has been able to confirm of the claims of access. Lawyers Franks Ogilvie are satisfied that more than one person viewed private data, but says details are imprecise and inconclusive.
Franks Ogilvie says they cannot know via people’s testimony with the same certainty that the Police’s IT specialists should be able to determine via website access data.
Nicole McKee says the amount of access is not as important as the extent of the weakness; that a simple human error changing access settings made some of the most sensitive data on New Zealanders viewable by unauthorised people.
“The tool for implementing the Government’s hasty response to the March attack was compromised and shut down – and remains closed with only three days to go for people to register that they hold a firearm that will be prohibited at midnight Friday.
“If the Police are so confident in their IT specialists and claim that it was just a mistake over access settings, they would have restarted the system.
“The error has been an unmitigated disaster for the Police. They have wrecked the trust of owners right at the time they need them to hand in firearms.
“They’ve embarrassed the Government by demonstrating the unreliability of the centrepiece of the follow-up firearm changes; a register of all firearms.”
Nicole McKee added that the hand-in and compensation programme had also been plagued by Police uncertainty over which firearms and parts were included or excluded from the ban, uncertainty over compensation for unexpected models, delays to appointing dealer hand-in channels and certified gunsmiths for modification, and uncertainty over ammunition and parts.
“Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. That’s what happens when you don’t think before you act. The Government should have waited until the report of the Royal Commission.”
COLFO CONFIRMS NUMBER OF BANNED FIREARMS IN NEW ZEALAND AT UPPER END OF POLICE ESTIMATES
SUNDAY 15 DECEMBER 2019
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) has estimated there are a total of 170,000 banned firearms in New Zealand, following an investigation of records from 11 firearms distributors and Customs imports. The announcement supports the higher limit released by Police earlier this year.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says its estimate means the Police have only recovered 28% of the total number of newly prohibited firearms (the Police reported on 12 December that 47,486 firearms had been handed in).
While COLFO has always encouraged licenced firearms owners to comply with the law, McKee says she understands why some people are choosing not to engage with the process.
“The entire approach has been adversarial from the get-go. More firearms banned than they claimed, poor compensation, export bans ruining the opportunity of selling up valuable collections, and Police destroying prized and historic firearms.”
McKee says a lack of proper compensation for firearms, no compensation for prohibited ammunition, and no compensation for many banned parts is driving firearms owners towards taking their chances by not handing in.
“The Minister of Police and Prime Minister claim the ban was to remove military-style semi-automatics from circulation. But far more firearms than these are included; some owners will see this as unfair, while others might not even realise that they are in possession of a now-prohibited firearm because it is not a MSSA.”
McKee says questions will need to be asked of the Government at the 20 December deadline.
“There’s no way Police will collect over 100,000 more firearms this week, before the ban comes into force. The scheme is looking like a failure due to the rush on implementing political and ideological remedies instead of developing a more fair and reasonable hand-in regime over a more conducive timeline.”
POLICE FIREARM DATA BREACH UPDATE #3: IMAGES NOW AVAILABLE
MONDAY 2 DECEMBER 2019
COLFO has released images in which the Police online database revealed full contact and bank details of all 37,125 owners and each of the 280,000 prohibited items they own or owned before hand-in.
The notification system is an online webpage where members of the public notify Police of prohibited firearms or related items they own and intend to hand-in.
Many of the owners would still have the firearms and accessories at their homes when the Police data was publicly accessible.
Multiple licensed owners witnessed the data error, and Police were notified early this morning. Members of the public were still able to log into the notification system until noon.
COLFO Spokesperson Nicole McKee says Government’s planned firearm registry is now doomed.
“Police cannot talk themselves out of the privacy breach like this – the ramifications are too severe.
“Police promised Members of Parliament that data on a firearm registry would be secure. Yet this registry of 280,000 prohibited firearms and accessories was publicly available. That’s what Police said could not happen. It has, and it’s an unmitigated disaster.
“If Parliament still agrees to a register, they are signing off this failure to happen again, but on an even bigger scale – affecting all 250,000 licenced firearm owners.”
Transmission note from Franks Ogilvie:
To whom it may concern
The attached screen shots are examples only of the information that was readily accessible from what was sent to us. We have seen pages of similar numbers and data.
The information was, at our request, sent to us directly by one of the people who drew to COLFO attention the fact that when he logged into the portal to complete a notification, he found he had access to what appeared to be the notifications of an extraordinary number of other notifications.
We know of no reason to mistrust the explanation by the source of how it came to his attention, or any other of his statements.
The accessibility of such information through the portal was separately reported to our clients by others, and we have spoken directly to a person who logged in to verify the ease of access.
Subsequently, another source not known to us, but known to and trusted by a COLFO person who is well known to us reported having accessed the portal for his own notifications, and finding access to 280,000 notifications. His description of the data available is consistent with the example attached to this message.
Screenshots of database breach begin below:
POLICE FIREARM DATA BREACH UPDATE #2
MONDAY 2 DECEMBER 2019
The Police firearm database breach has revealed that 37,125 owners have registered 280,000 individual newly prohibited items, COLFO says.
Full contact details, firearm licence number and bank address details were revealed. This has been captured on screen-grabs by users, and a full set of the data was downloaded.
The notification system is an online web page where any member of the public can notify the Police that they have one of the newly prohibited firearms or related items. Notification is a three-step process requiring name and contact details, then the firearms and parts to be registered, then their licence number and bank account (for compensation payments).
It is unclear how long the information was publicly available before it was seen this morning, and people were able to log into the system for up to three hours before the Police finally shut it down.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says the data breach is a huge blow to the whole hand-in programme, and to Police claims that firearm owner data would be safe under the Government’s planned registry.
“This is a shocking development. Full details of prohibited firearms, and addresses at which they could be found, have been available online to the public.
“This makes an absolute mockery of Police claims to the Select Committee that they could be trusted to keep a firearm registry secure.
“We call on the full hand-in programme to be suspended in the meantime, and the Privacy Commissioner to investigate.”
DATA BREACH ALERT ON FIREARM HAND-IN SCHEME
MONDAY 2 DECEMBER 2019
COLFO has learned within the past hour of a massive data breach on the Police database for firearm hand-in and compensation.
Information on 70,000 firearm hand-in notifications, the firearms and owner bank account numbers, were accessible to web page users.
COLFO has sent an urgent email to all members alerting them to the breach.
COLFO demands that the web page and whole hand-in application programme is suspended immediately.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee says the incident shows precisely why a Police Firearm Register cannot be trusted.
The situation is ongoing. More information shortly.
POLICE TRASH BASIC RULE OF LAW PRINCIPLE
FRIDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2019
A Police announcement today of an exemption for firearm owners stuck in a long queue for Police approval omits to mention a serious change in the rules for compensation.
Thousands of owners have applied for exemptions to hold prohibited firearms for pest control, for licenses to continue as antique collectors and other exemptions provided for in the law. They now get up to 30 days to apply for compensation if their special category applications are turned down.
But new regulation 28LA lets the Commissioner unilaterally decide not to compensate fully for more than the quantity of parts and magazines that ‘the Commissioner considers appropriate for the reasonable personal use of the person’.
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) spokesperson Nicole McKee says that a change not mentioned by the Police is sinister.
“It should worry all New Zealanders, particularly people with larger than average farms or houses, or with more than “enough” of anything.”
“Collectors are enthusiasts. They often have more parts than the rest of us consider necessary for personal use.”
The regulation reneges on the key reassurance from the government, reiterated this month by the Prime Minister in talking to US entertainer Stephen Colbert, that people would get fair compensation.
Nicole McKee says the right to compensation for property confiscated by the government was inherited with the Treaty. That is the basis of the last 30 years of Treaty settlements. It was included in laws like Public Works Act, and the Arms Act before it was changed earlier this year.
“But those rights are excluded for this confiscation. The new regulation effectively means that if you hand in more bits than the Police think you needed, you don’t deserve normal rights. They’ll just seize your excess and the market value is irrelevant. They might give you your cost price, if you can prove what it was.”
“Some magazines cost over $200 each. Many have heritage value, and of course inflation has made the cost price irrelevant, even if you can show what it was.
“How many people can prove the price they paid for much loved items bought many years ago?”
McKee said the arrogance of this change is inexcusable. With only a month from the end of the amnesty, the government is still trying to clarify key provisions without consulting with the community.
“But they’ve decided they don’t mind trashing rule of law principles, whether it is warrantless entry, privacy, extraordinary Police powers, and compensation principles, because it’s being done to sports shooting people.
Amnesty pointless without compo extension
WEDNESDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2019
Extending the amnesty period for the return of banned firearms is utterly pointless unless the compensation period is extended as well, says the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO).
Owners of firearms banned following the Christchurch shootings have until December 20 to hand them in for compensation, after which they could be prosecuted if found in possession of them.
But police have now extended the amnesty indefinitely, meaning owners of banned guns will still be able to hand them in without penalty after December 20 but receive no compensation.
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee said the “permanent” amnesty was effectively an admission by police that the programme had been a failure.
“The process has been badly handled by the Government and police from the start. Firearms owners have no reason to trust them to be fair and reasonable because we’ve been repeatedly treated unfairly.
“That’s why this whole process has been a failure. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If the Government and police are serious about getting all prohibited firearms handed in, then they must extend the compensation period as well, at the very least. Otherwise, there’s no incentive and people will only hold on to their firearms.”
COLFO was pleased that officials had been speaking with their counterparts in Australia to learn from that country’s experience of banning certain types of firearms and compensating owners handing them in.
“But whether they’ll take that advice is another matter,” says McKee. “In Australia, for example, compensation was set at 115% of the retail price of a firearm; here it’s worked out to be an average 75% of wholesale value. It’s disincentivised owners from handing firearms in and that’s another huge reason why the programme is failing. Then there is the fact that the Australian system ran for 12 months."
“We’re sure (Minister of Police) Stuart Nash and the police will have been told this in no uncertain terms by the Australians.”
MORE FIREARMS LIKELY TO BE PROHIBITED DESPITE "FINAL" LIST
FRIDAY 25 OCTOBER 2019
The announcement by police today that another 39 specific firearms are banned means Minister of Police Stuart Nash must extend the amnesty period to prevent creation of “paper criminals”, says the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO).
Police today published what it says is the “final” amended price list for prohibited firearms and parts eligible for compensation under the buyback scheme. This adds a further 39 firearms, to take the total number of specified models to 454. In addition, 49 parts are now on the list, including the addition of AR lower receivers (without specified compensation).
COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee said the amnesty period had to be extended because the Government has been adding over 40 new firearms and parts every month. Only this week Police had also finally made a long-awaited decision on whether semi-automatics would be allowed to be modified to single-shot.
“The ban was conceived in a hot rush – forcing Police to continuously amend it.
“There is no way this is the ‘final’ list. Dozens of models and parts, equivalent to many thousands of items, remain to be declared prohibited and compensated.
“It is very likely that after formal prohibition starts, Police will still not have made decisions on specific firearm models and parts covered by the prohibition. That will create instant paper criminals out of firearm owners who have justifiably been waiting for decisions on their particular firearms.
“The Police price list has been amended multiple times because the initial work on the ban under-estimated the variety of firearms and formats, and under-estimated the number of affected firearms. It’s frustrating for licenced owners who have had to do much of this job for them, and are still missing out on compensation.”
McKee said the amnesty period must be extended by at least six months from the final price list or from when the final decision is made about the final model, part, or modification.
“If the Government does not extend the amnesty, it is likely to turn hundreds of people into instant criminals – just because the Police have not had time to work through every variation of affected firearm and part,” she said.
FOURTH PRICE LIST PROVES COMPENSATION SCHEME IS A MESS
THURSDAY 05 SEPTEMBER 2019
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) says publication of yet another amended price list for prohibited firearms and parts confirms Government has not got a handle on its own, rushed legislation and that police are struggling to catch up on what firearms are banned and how many there may be.
Police today issued the fourth iteration of the compensation price list, adding another 62 firearms and two parts to the price list. The total of banned firearms eligible for compensation now stands at 415, with 47 parts also on the list.
“It’s a mess, but that’s the inevitable outcome of law being made on the fly,” says COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee.
“Since the compensation scheme came into effect on June 20, there have been three more lists and more than 100 models of firearms added. Police say this ‘incorporates a number of firearms submitted by the public’.
“This proves that not only did the Government not have vital information needed when it decided on the scope of the ban, but also that the police now have had to greatly expand what’s banned, leaving them struggling to calculate how many banned firearms there may be, or what the total cost of compensation might end up being.”
McKee said New Zealanders deserved clear answers from the Government and police.
“The public were told the ban applied only to military-style, semi-automatic firearms. But the list of banned firearms has gone way beyond that – firearms such as small calibre bolt action rifles and shotguns, which might be used for duck shooting or pest control, are now also on the banned list.
“That was not how the ban was sold to the public. Those who own firearms deserve to know where the line will be drawn. Until law-abiding firearms owners get some fair and reasonable clarity, it’s likely they’ll hold off handing in their firearms.”
FIREARM COLLECTION EVENTS GOOD, BUT NOT ENOUGH
SATURDAY 31 AUGUST 2019
The Council of Licenced Firearm Owners (COLFO) says the Government needs to do whatever is necessary to make its programme of collecting banned firearms a success.
COLFO chair Michael Dowling visited the Porirua collection event today with Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement. Some firearms owners at previous events had reported heavy-handed behaviour from armed police, and an intimidating environment.
Mr Dowling was present at the event for around two hours. The public events were a good option, but alone would not be enough to ensure all affected firearms could be collected by the December 20 deadline, he said.
“These events are understandably highly managed, and some owners will be okay with that. But the attendance probably reflects the majority are not.
“We are pleased to hear that additional channels are being launched to allow law-abiding firearms owners a less stressful way to turn in the newly banned firearms.”
On Friday, police announced a two-week pilot starting Monday for owners to hand in firearms at a Hunting & Fishing outlet in Franklin. The scheme is expected to be extended from mid-September.
“It’s long overdue, but we are pleased to see pilot schemes get underway, with police assessors available at dealer outlets by appointment.”
This will allow firearm owners to work through the details with a person they know and trust, making a difficult conversation a little easier.
“The pickup service for larger numbers of firearms needs to be rolled out, and certification of people who can modify firearms, so firearm owners can have their firearms modified to comply.”
COLFO said firearm owners did not ask for the ban, but as it was now law, the collection programme has to succeed. COLFO was optimistic the number of firearms being collected would increase significantly once police added more ways to return firearms and compensation improved, said Mr Dowling.
MORE THAN 350 FIREARM BANNED FIREARMS: COMPENSATION COSTS WILL RISE
TUESDAY 20 AUGUST 2019
The Council of Licenced Firearm Owners (COLFO) says the newly issued ‘price list’ for compensation of banned firearms reveals that haste in preparing the ban has led to an underestimation of the number of affected firearms and their value.
The number of new firearms added to the buyback list, and the value of those firearms, is increasing. The police added 16 gun models in its July update, with an average base price of $4600, and 24 in its August update, with an average price of $4800. The average price of existing banned guns was around $3000.
There are now more than 350 models of banned firearms, 36 parts and nine magazine types. The new models and variants are being discovered as owners bring them to police collection events.
Nicole McKee, spokesperson for COLFO, said the collection events were revealing a wider range of guns and higher values than the Government expected.
“This is what happens when you make decisions in haste. The Government did not have the information required when it decided on the scope of which firearms would be banned.
“It did not expect so many guns would fall under the ban, nor that the newly discovered models would prove so much more expensive when compensating owners.”
McKee said the new firearms and values would result in a higher total cost of the compensation, and the range of new firearms handed in would continue to increase.
“Many collectors of unique and valuable models have not yet handed in firearms, and many more owners have not worked out that their models are included in the ban.”
She added that police had agreed to top up compensation for owners of models already handed in but only now added to the valuation list. They would not do so automatically, and owners had to apply for the top up.
LICENCED OWNERS SHOULD DELAY RETURN OF PROHIBITED FIREARMS
MONDAY 12 AUGUST 2019
The Council of Licensed Firearm Owners (COLFO) has today suggested that members hold on to banned firearms until the Government announces better channels and compensation before the 20 December 2019 amnesty deadline.
In a message via its Fair and Reasonable campaign website, COLFO says some collection events currently run by police are becoming hostile environments due to the heavy presence of armed police, intense participant management, and interrogation of some owners.
"The first to return their firearms are the most conscientious, so they’re naturally taken aback by the intense treatment - herded, guarded and interrogated," said COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee.
"The Government wants rid of these firearms, and the amnesty and collection is critical to its success. Nothing else is more important.
"Owners have until 20 December to comply, and the collection events will not be the only part of the amnesty and hand-in system.
"We are insisting the Government make other channels available for return, including dealers and home visits as soon as possible."
The Council’s message to licensed owners is people who want to comply as soon as possible via the collection events should return only the firearm and remove all legal accessories such as scopes, as these were not being compensated. They are also urged to take detailed photographs of firearms before attending any hand-in event.
"The Government has tried to cut costs, but success depends on not being cheap and hurried with the safety of New Zealanders. It must offer better compensation terms, as Australia did," McKee said.
The Council message advised that licensed owners determined to attend collection events should also "mentally prepare yourself for rigorous scrutiny, and if you believe treatment is unfair, take notes and names of police officers involved".