The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says the clock is ticking down for firearms owners who wish to stay on the right side of the law.
“The buyback and amnesty for prohibited and unlawful firearms ends tonight,” Mr Nash said. “There has been a last minute surge in the past fortnight as people have come forward to do the right thing.
“More than 56,346 prohibited and unlawful firearms have so far been removed from circulation, through the buyback and amnesty, as well as through modifications by approved gunsmiths at government expense.
“This is within the range estimated by KPMG, who provided independent advice to Police.
“However Police have consistently warned the problem is we just don’t know exactly how many guns are out in the community. This is why we need a register, to enable Police to better track firearms.
“Around 31,650 people have now taken part. They deserve credit and acknowledgement. Their response has been excellent and reinforces what we said from the beginning: the vast majority of firearms owners are law abiding people.
“Today there are 22 collection events all over the country from Kaitaia to Invercargill. Prior to today there were 650 collection points, including public sessions, private collections by Police at clubs and gun ranges, and by gun dealers who collected on behalf of Police.
“Throughout the process firearms owners have consistently reported how easy it has been once they turn up to the events, and how satisfied they feel about the compensation they receive. They have so far been paid almost $100 million in compensation.
“There has also been a huge number of prohibited parts handed in, such as high-capacity magazines and pistol grips, which can modify existing firearms. Almost 188,000 prohibited parts are no longer in the community.
“Another 1800 firearms have been seized from gangs and other offenders since March.
“From tomorrow gun owners will not be paid for their prohibited firearms. The buyback will be over. The special ‘no questions asked’ amnesty also ends tonight. Those in breach of the law face risk of prosecution and up to five years jail, as well as the loss of their licence.
“However the current framework for voluntary surrender of firearms, which has been in place for decades, will continue. This gives Police discretion on a case by case basis over whether to prosecute.
“I want to thank those good law abiding firearms owners who have taken part. I also wish to acknowledge the huge effort by Police to set up the processes and run a six-month campaign to remove the most dangerous firearms from our communities,” Mr Nash said.