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Govt leaving some firearm owners out of pocket

The proposed firearm buyback scheme announced by the Government will likely leave many owners out of pocket, undermining the legitimacy of the scheme, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“The feedback we have heard is that while some people are comfortable with the price list offered by the Government, thousands of people will be thousands of dollars out of pocket.

“Many people will be forced to hand over their guns at below market value which isn’t fair and isn’t right. The Government should be buying guns back at fair market value.

“The Government’s proposals put the integrity and legitimacy of the scheme at risk. If licenced firearm owners do not believe the price being paid to them is fair; they will not participate in the scheme, defeating the whole point of the buyback.

“National is the party of property rights and we believe licenced firearm owners should be compensated properly and fairly. Up until the passage of the recent Arms Amendment Act, people owned these firearms legally. Parliament has acted to make them illegal but when the Government confiscates private property, people should still be fairly compensated.

“The Government’s proposals are also troublesome in other ways. First, it looks like parts will also not be valued fairly.

“Secondly, safes are excluded. Many people have invested many thousands of dollars in high-spec safes which are now useless or irrelevant because the firearms previously stored in them will be handed back.

“Thirdly, for people with unusual or high value firearms, applications for special valuations will be at the applicant’s own expense. But the Crown should pay.

“The devil is in the detail and there will likely be thousands of people who will be thousands of dollars out of pocket. The critical thing is that the compensation scheme not only has to be fair, but it has to be seen as fair.

“This is a good attempt by the Government but falls short in many ways. The Government can and must do better.”

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