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Delay on part ban shows buyback process is critically flawed

For four months after the Government’s ban on semi-automatic firearms, a central part of the firearm used in the Christchurch shootings remained legal.

The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) said today that the police were unable to classify the part as prohibited because the ban was simplistic and broad.

COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee said it was yet another example of confusion and frustration over which firearms and parts are banned under the new law.

“The public expected that semi-automatics like the one used in the Christchurch shootings were being removed. Until yesterday, a key part used in that tragedy was legal to own, while hundreds of other firearms unrelated to the shootings were banned.”

Police on Thursday issued an amended price list of banned firearms and parts – its fourth update in less than three months – to bring the number of firearms eligible for compensation to 415. In addition, two parts of a type of semi-automatic rifle will now be added to the price list – but only after four months of requests for clarification from confused owners.

“Firearms owners and dealers have been seeking answers from police about AR-style lower receivers for months,” says COLFO spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Owners of these receivers have handed them in at collection events without compensation because they weren’t on the list, others were given them back by police. Now police say they are prohibited and will be compensated, although they don’t yet know what the compensation will be.”

McKee said firearms owners are confused and frustrated by the lack of clarity from authorities on how to comply.

“While many don’t agree with parts of the ban, they want to do what is required of them by law. However, given this law was rushed through and poorly conceived, it’s so full of holes that firearms owners don’t have trust in a process that seems designed to punish them, when they have done nothing wrong. That means they’re more likely to hang on to their firearms until they get clear answers.”


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