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Permanent Modification of Firearms an option

Some prohibited firearms can be modified to be non-prohibited.

Police are encouraging those that have a firearm they wish to legally hold onto, to get it modified now before the amnesty finishes 20 December.

We talked to a Police approved gunsmith to find out more about the process and how people are going about it.

Darren, who is based in Whangarei, is a licensed firearms dealer and gunsmith.

He’s used to working with metals – most of his working life has been spent as an Aerospace engineer specialising in the manufacture of aircraft components, space payloads and satellites.

The sort of person you’d trust with a firearm that is a family heirloom.

The sort of people that have approached him so far to have their firearm modified have included families who have had their grandfathers firearm passed down to them and it has great sentimental value to them.

Another example is a farmer who wants to keep his firearm - it’s his working tool.

In both cases, they don’t want to see the firearm destroyed.

Modification permanently reduces the magazine capacity so that the firearm is no longer a prohibited firearm and allows them to keep it.

In just a couple of weeks, Darren has had more than 40 people enquiring about modifications, and most are interested in modifying their Bolt Action, Pump Action, Lever Action or Semi-automatic .22 calibre to be non-prohibited.

The process involved is simple.

Firstly notify online on the Police website to get a reference number and then contact an approved gunsmith (details listed on the Police website here).

If you don’t have web access, call Police on 0800 311 311 and they can assist you.

In Darren’s case, when a customer contacts him he’ll arrange a time to meet and safely hand over the firearm for modification.

The average modification takes him around a week to do, and then he arranges for the owner to collect the newly modified firearm.

The owner will receive a certification of work complete.

And in most cases there’s no cost to the customer.

Darren notifies Police of the work carried out on an owner’s firearm and invoices Police directly, up to $300 per firearm.

The reactions that Darren has had from owners so far is that they’re really glad they have this option as they really want to keep the firearm.

And Darren points out that there is minimal visual modification to the firearm – in most cases it is hardly noticeable because it’s internal.

This is very important if it is a collector’s piece or of significant value because it doesn’t look different – it’s not horribly mutilated.

Lastly, the advice that Darren gives to firearms owners unsure about taking this route is to talk to your gunsmith about this – there’s no obligation to go ahead but it’s good to understand your options.

Alternatively, prohibited firearms can be handed in at a local collection event or an approved dealer.

There are 32 approved gunsmiths located around the country able to carry out modifications.

For contact details and further information about the process, please see the Police website here.


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