Gun owners in New Zealand are refusing to turn in their guns.
After the horrific Christchurch mosque massacres, New Zealand’s political class was ready to prove to the world that it was a “civilized” country that had no time to deal with civilian gun culture.
One of the first proposals that the government immediately drafted up was a buyback scheme that would have citizens turn in their semi-automatic firearms, magazines, and shotguns to the authorities.
However, Leesa Donner of Liberty Nation notes that politicians “are befuddled by the lack of enthusiasm from citizens who have yet to comply with the new law.”
Originally, Reuters reported that “New Zealand police expect tens of thousands of firearms to be surrendered in a guns buy-back scheme.”
Such lofty expectations soon came crashing down after new revelations that only “530 guns have thus far been turned in to the authorities.”
Michael Clement, the police deputy commissioner, told the media that the number of guns expected to be turned in is “a great unknown question,” largely because the firearms the government is planning to confiscate have never been registered.
Gun ownership in New Zealand is not as small as people think. There is an estimated 1.2-1.5 million guns in a country of roughly 4.7 million people.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a near unanimous vote to enact this gun buy-back. However, Liberty Nation Legal Affairs Editor Scott Cosenza correctly argues that “Buy-back is really a misnomer because the government never owned those guns in the first place.” These types of programs are really soft forms of gun control that condition people into accepting larger, more comprehensive gun confiscation schemes.
Unlike the U.S., New Zealand does not have a guaranteed right to self-defense. As a result, Kiwis will have a tougher time fending off gun control legislation. That being said, their non-compliance with the New Zealand government’s new gun control laws shows that Kiwis are not ready to bow down to their government just yet.