NEW ZEALAND - Buying Back Military-Style Weapons

Arno Froese

It was one of the defining moments as New Zealand grieved after a pair of deadly mosque attacks: a near-unanimous parliamentary vote in April to ban military-style rifles and similar weapons.

The lawmakers’ move was immediately acclaimed by gun-control advocates worldwide as an example of decisive collective action in a nation unified in horror by the March 15 assaults in Christchurch that left 51 people dead.

The government, meanwhile, is faced with a sobering set of challenges over how to enforce the new law.

There is no national registry for many of the weapons targeted by the ban, including the AR-15—a semiautomatic rifle that has been used in mass shootings in the United States and is often at the center of American gun-control debates.

Authorities are “operating a little bit in the dark,” said Joe Green, gun-safety specialist and former arms control manager for the New Zealand Police.

“It’s really an open checkbook,” he added, “because they don’t know how many they are buying back.”

Meanwhile, the government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is moving ahead with plans to further tighten gun controls. Measures could include a national firearms registry and a more comprehensive vetting process for gun ownership.

The government has set the buyback value at 95 percent of the estimated base price for new or nearly new firearms. The amount is less for weapons in poorer condition.

There has been no indication from officials that the compensation rates will be increased, and an amnesty period expires Dec. 20.

“We urge people to stay calm,” Mike Clement, New Zealand Police’s deputy commissioner of national operations, told The Washington Post.

“We acknowledge that you’re a law-abiding citizen and through no fault of your own you now find yourself in possession of firearms that are now illegal,” he said, but he noted that once the amnesty period expires, there is no excuse for holding on to weapons.

“Despite any potential difficulties with the buyback, it is really important that we remove semiautomatic weapons from the community,” said Philippa Yasbek, founder of Gun Control NZ. “We also know that this change will be effective. In Australia, there were 13 fatal mass shootings from 1979 to 1996. After the gun law reforms in 1996, there were none for more than 20 years.”

-washingtonpost.com, 30 June 2019

Arno's commentary

New Zealand is a very peaceful and prosperous nation. Wikipedia states that besides the Christchurch mosque mass shooting on 15 March 2019, which killed 51 people, the last one was on 8 February 1997, when 6 people were killed with a sawed-off, single-barrel shotgun. Their crime ranking stands at 213th in the world, with a rate of 0.99 crimes per 100,000 people (USA is 5.35 per 100,000).

While there are significant differences from continent to continent and country to country, the killing of one another will not cease. Here is what Revelation 6:4 says: “And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” While this speaks primarily of the time of the Great Tribulation, we do know that this is applicable for all times in human history. Peace was taken away from earth when Adam and Eve sinned and were cast out of paradise. Killing one another started with Cain killing his brother, Abel. But one day it will cease; that’s the time when the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of God from Jerusalem. Micah 4:3 reads: “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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