Guess the number of NZ guns affected by the confiscation law

Some folks don’t like that I’ve been basing my New Zealand confiscation compliance estimates on NZ media reports.

Granted, “my” (not really mine, but as I said from NZ reports; have to go by something) estimates are kind of laughable, since no one knows how many newly banned guns are in the wild down there. But why are those guesstimates any less valid than my critics’ wild ass guesses?

When I started this, the range of estimates of potentially affected guns was 1 million to 2 million.

Thanks to Twitter, the low end has dropped to 14,500 with 10,000 already turned in. That’s courtesy of Paul Wiggin, who thinks the law is limited to 14,500 registered guns held by 6,500 licensees, and that over 10,000 thousand have already been turned in. He blocked me after I pointed out that his source article was referring to 10,000+ firearms, magazines, and parts turned in. My source article was a little more specific; of the 10,000 items only 3,275 were firearms.

I think Wiggin was under the impression that the new NZ confiscation only covered Category E “Military-Style Semi-Automatic” firearms. Police Association president Chris Cahill begs to differ:

Police Association president Chris Cahill said it was a bit of unknown if the money would be enough because there had not been a gun registry.

“We really have no idea how many of these firearms are out there in New Zealand,” Cahill said.

It’s a little more inclusive than Wiggin’s guess.

  • ALL semi-autos (except handguns, .22 or smaller rimfire and 10 rnd or less, or semi-auto shotguns with 5 rnd or less magazine)
  • ALL pump shotguns with more than a 5 rnd magazine
  • Any shotgun taking a detachable magazine
  • Anything else they declare by Order in Council

The New Zealand Police are even more specific about other items:

  • ALL bolt, pump, lever rifles with more than 10 rnd magazines
  • ALL bolt, lever shotguns with more than 5 rnd magazines

I’d need to double-check tube capacity, but I think that would include 125 year-old Marlin Model 1894’s in .38-40. I know it would include a lot of Remington 870s.

Marc Daalder, who accuses US web sites of “fake news,” is sure “I” am wrong because he says, “There are *maybe* 500,000 semi-auto rifles and shotguns in NZ and “only a small proportion” are now illegal.” No source given for that, but somehow it’s more reliable than the articles I did link. Note that he also seems to be unaware that the law covers more than semi-autos.

Perhaps someone could survey NZ manufacturers and importers to learn how many affected-type firearms have been introduced into the country for, say, the past fifty years (or more; who knows what got introduced during WW2). Does their government track that as the US ATF does? There should be something as it appears that the majority of affected arms required a permit to import. I would expect customs records, too.

Let’s see what the NZ government is guessing at. As of 7/21, they had 3,275 guns, and they’ve paid out NZ$6.19 million; an average of NZ$1,890 per gun. This article says they expect the buyback to run NZ$100-200 million. Given the average payout so far, that suggests they are expecting to “buyback” 52,910 to 105,820 guns.

But apparently the deputy prime minister thinks it could go to NZ$300 million. Which suggests a possible 158,730 affected guns.

At the low estimate of 52,910 that’s a 6.19% compliance rate. With approximately 250 scheduled “buyback” events, they need to average 212 guns per event. The current average is 131/event.

At the high end of 158,730 that’s 2.06% compliance. They need 635 guns per event. Again, they’re averaging 131; about a fifth of what they need to call it a success.

If New Zealand gun owners are really happy to dump their property for cash, you might expect they’d be rushing to get that NZ$1,890 in the bank.

When Australia tried this, they got an estimated 20% compliance rate. I don’t expect the New Zealand government to have much more luck.

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