Here is a timeline of announcements and progress towards gun law reform since the attacks on mosques in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March 2019.

 

Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill

16 March 2019 A  “Statement from Jacinda Ardern on Christchurch mass shooting – 9am 16 March” included following (my emphasis in bold):

 

“While work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun licence, and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now. Our gun laws will change.

 

 

I have instructed ODESC to report to Cabinet on Monday on this sequence of events with a view to strengthening our systems on a range of fronts including but not limited to, firearms, border controls, enhanced information sharing with Australia and any practical reinforcement of our watch list processes.”

 

18 March 2019

 

The  PM statement on Christchurch mosques terror attack – 18 March included the following (my emphasis in bold):

 

Today Cabinet was expanded to include representatives from our confidence and supply support partner, the Green Party. It was an opportunity to discuss several key issues and pieces of work, and having all parties around the table has helped to expedite that process. I’ll run through now several preliminary decisions that have been made.

 

Cabinet today made in-principle decisions around the reform of our gun laws. I intend to give further detail of these decisions to the media and public before Cabinet meets again next Monday. This ultimately means that within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism, we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer.

 

In the intervening period, we will be working hard and as quickly as we can to finalise some of the details around the decision Cabinet has made today and the consequences of it. …”

 

 

19 March 2019 Ministerial Statement in the House. The Prime Minister stated (my emphasis in bold):

 

“ …I know, though, that there have, rightly, been questions around how this could have happened here in a place that prides itself on being open, peaceful, diverse, and there is anger that it has happened here. There are many questions that need to be answered, and the assurance that I give you is that they will be. Yesterday, Cabinet agreed that an inquiry—one that looks into the events that led up to the attack on 15 March—will occur. We will examine what we did know, could have known, or should have known. We cannot allow this to happen again.

 

Part of ensuring the safety of New Zealanders must include a frank examination of our gun laws. As I’ve already said, our gun laws will change. Cabinet met yesterday and made in-principle decisions 72 hours after the attack. Before we meet again next Monday, these decisions will be announced. ..”

 

 

21 March 2019 The “PM Statement on Christchurch mosques terror attack – 21 March” includes the following (my emphasis in bold):

 

“Today I’m announcing that New Zealand will ban all military style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semi-automatic or any other type of firearm into a military style semi-automatic weapon. We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semi-automatic, automatic, or close to automatic gunfire. In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country.

 

These changes will require legislation. That legislation has now been drafted and will be introduced under urgency. A shortened select committee process will apply. So I encourage all those who wish to submit to start now. My expectation is that the law will be in place by the end of the next two-week sitting session, which is by the 11th of April.

 

As a Government, however, we did not wish to allow a situation where irresponsible dealers continue to sell weapons that will be banned within a few weeks. That is why we have taken an interim measure. As at 3:00 pm today an order in council took effect. These changes to our regulations will ensure virtually all of the weapons I have announced has been banned will be categorized as weapons that require an E-Class endorsement. …”

 

1 April 2019 Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill introduced with links to a Departmental disclosure statement, prepared by NZ Police.

 

2 April 2019 First reading of the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill. The bill was then referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee.  In the House, the Minister of Police stated:

 

“I nominate the Finance and Expenditure Committee to consider the bill. At the appropriate time, I intend to move that the bill be reported to the House by Monday, 8 April 2019 and that the committee have authority to meet at any time while the House is sitting, except during oral questions, during any evening on a day on which there has been a sitting of the House, and on a Friday in a week where there has been a sitting of the House, and outside the Wellington area, despite Standing Orders 191, 193, 194(1)(b) and (c).”

 

 

 

8 April 2019 Finance and Expenditure Committee reported back. The report states (my emphasis in bold):

 

Parliament required us to report back within seven days. For this reason, the changes we recommend will be contained in a Supplementary Order Paper which we expect to be tabled in the House by the sponsoring Minister. We received and considered 13,062 submissions from interested groups and individuals. We heard oral evidence from 22 submitters at hearings in Wellington. Of the submissions we received, about 60 percent supported the bill, 26 percent were opposed to the bill, and 14 percent expressed another view.”

 

9 April 2019 Second reading of the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill.
10 April 2019 SOP No 201 released. Departmental disclosure statement released.

 

A press release from the Minister of Police, “Legal framework for gun buyback scheme announced” (my emphasis in bold):

 

“Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced a legal framework for the gun buyback will be established as a first step towards determining the level of compensation. It will include compensation for high capacity magazines and parts.

 

Mr Nash has outlined changes to the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill which will be debated during the committee stages of the legislation.

 

The Supplementary Order Paper reflects changes arising from the Select Committee process. It sets out the framework for dealing with the legal ownership of weapons, magazines and parts and the broad approach for determining payments. 

 

The regulations will create a framework to set compensation based on make, model and condition of the items. They will provide for rights of review and appeal,” Mr Nash says.

 

“Independent advisors will develop the price list for approval by Cabinet. A separate expert panel of advisors will be established to determine fair compensation for high value firearms.

 

“Police have also consulted extensively with Australian officials to familiarise themselves with the pitfalls and legal risks encountered there. Australia has had almost thirty amnesties and buyback schemes since the 1990s. …”

 

 

10 April 2019 Bill debated by House in committee. Third reading.

 

Arms Legislation Bill

 

22 July 2019  A press release “New emphasis on public safety for firearms” from the Prime Minister and Minister of Police stated (my emphasis in bold):

 

“A firearms register, tighter licensing system for gun owners and a new emphasis on safety and personal responsibility is the focus of new firearms legislation announced today.

 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Police Minister Stuart Nash have outlined details of the second set of law changes following the terror attack on 15 March.

 

“In April we acted to take the most dangerous weapons out of circulation by prohibiting assault rifles and military style semi-automatics,” Jacinda Ardern says.

 

“Now we are moving to stop other firearms falling into the wrong hands.

 

The next Arms Amendment Bill will: …

 

The legislation is being drafted and is due for introduction in late August. It will spend three months at select committee for public feedback. In the meantime I encourage all interested people to begin writing submissions so they can take part in the process,” Mr Nash says.”

 

The press release was accompanied by a Q&A document.

 

25 July 2019 In “Advisory: proactive release, firearms paper” released by the Minister of Police advised (my emphasis in bold):

 

“The Cabinet Minute related to decisions for the next Arms Amendment Bill has now been proactively released. A media statement with summarised questions and answers about the Bill was released on Monday 22 July.

 

The Cabinet Minute can be found on the Police website, here: https://www.police.govt.nz/about-us/publication/strengthening-framework-safe-use-and-control-firearms-cabinet-social-wellbeing

 

The details in the Cabinet Minute will assist interested parties to begin preparing submissions on the Bill, which is due for introduction by late August. …”

 

13 September 2019 Arms Legislation Bill introduced.

 

A press release “Tighter gun laws for the safety of all” stated (my emphasis in bold):

 

“The Government is taking steps to ensure gun ownership is restricted to responsible users, and to stop the flow of guns into the black market as legislation is introduced to Parliament today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. …”

 

Press release contains Q&As.

 

Departmental Disclosure Statement.

 

Regulatory Impact Statement.

 

24 September 2019 First reading of the Arms Legislation Bill. Sent to Finance and Expenditure Committee.

 

12 November 2019 Minister of Police released Supplementary Order Paper 408. Links to Departmental Disclosure Statement.

 

12 December 2019 Interim report on the Arms Legislation Bill from the Finance and Expenditure Committee.
January 2020 Proactive release of papers relating to the development of the Arms Legislation Bill on Police website.

 

10 February 2020 Final report on the Arms Legislation Bill from Finance and Expenditure Committee.

 

19 February 2020 Second reading of the Arms Legislation Bill.

 

With more to come…

 

Insanity on fast forward.