What exactly is the recent New Zealand gun ban? What are the details and implications for gun owners? What are the punishments for violating the ban? These details are not described in the vast majority of news articles covering the story. For example:
Many articles reference a ban on “military-style” firearms, but it’s actually a ban on all semi-automatic firearms except shotguns holding five or fewer rounds and .22 or lower caliber guns. It also bans pump-action shotguns that can hold more than five shells.
This type of confusing information is why I’m writing this post.
This is not intended to be political commentary. Everyone has his/her own view on this polarizing matter, and I’m not interested in bogging this piece down with political arguments for one side or the other. There’s enough of that elsewhere. It’s simply an informative piece for those interested. Each person can come to his or her own conclusion on whether it’s good or bad.
The Christchurch mosque shootings were two consecutive terrorist attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019. The attacks began at the Al Noor Mosque in the suburb of Riccarton at 1:40 pm, and continued at the Linwood Islamic Centre at about 1:55 pm. The gunman live-streamed the first attack on Facebook Live. The attacks killed 50 people and injured 50 others.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christchurch_mosque_shootings
Prime Minister Ardem called the incident an “act of extreme and unprecedented violence” on “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.” She also announced that “Our gun laws will change, now is the time.” On March 21, six days after the shooting, she announced a ban.
The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Bill
The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on April 1, 2019, and passed its first reading the following day by a vote of 119-1. The bill amends the original Arms Act passed in 1983, and is set to become law. A sales ban was made effective immediately to prevent stockpiling.
Details of New Zealand’s Gun Ban
A government statement said the practical effect of the exemptions would be to continue to allow possession of .22 caliber semi-automatic “rimfire” firearms with magazines holding no more than 10 rounds, as well as semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns with non-detachable tubular magazines holding no more than five rounds.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/new-zealand-seeks-quick-ban-nearly-all-semi-automatic-weapons-n985686
- semi-automatic rifles (other than .22 rimfire or lower caliber)
- shotguns (pump or semi) that can hold more than five rounds (detachable magazine or fixed tube)
Note: restrictions are already in place on the possession of pistols.
- shotgun magazines that hold more than five rounds
- .22 caliber or less magazines that hold more than 10 rounds
- any magazine holding more than 10 rounds and being used with a semi-automatic or fully automatic firearm
More Prohibitions and Details
- any part that can alter a firearm to be fired with, or near, a semi-automatic or automatic actions is prohibited
- there is language to allow for “prohibited ammunition” declared by the “Governor by Order in Council”
- to apply for exceptions you must be a licensed dealer, a bona fide collector, museum curator, or police officer
- permits to possess prohibited firearms may be revoked by a commissioned officer at any time
- people have amnesty until September 30, 2019
- unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm = imprisonment up to five years
- unlawful possession of a prohibited magazine = imprisonment up to two years
- unlawful possession of a prohibited part = imprisonment up to two years
- possessing a prohibited firearm in a public place = imprisonment up to seven years
- if you have a license to possess such a firearm, and fail to produce it upon request by a police officer, or refuse to let a police officer enter the place where it is kept = imprisonment up to three months and/or a fine not exceeding $1,000
Plans are being developed to establish a buyback program to compensate gun owners for their voluntarily turned in firearms, and is estimated to cost between $100 and $200 million.
Read the complete language of the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill by clicking on the link. Read the official press release allowing for public comments here.