Gun collectors in Otorohanga, Kath and Colin Arnold are among many New Zealanders mourning the loss of historic antique guns, made illegal by the hastily implemented New Zealand Gun bans.
The ban which was first announced in the wake of the Christchurch shooting in April is widely thought by the public to be targeting purely modern semi-automatic “military-style” weapons like those used in the terrorist attack.
However, Otarohanga residents, have been handing in mostly World War II vintage rifles — not the military-style semi-automatics the ban allegedly targets.
As a result of this ban, many of Kath’s rifles had to be modified to be compliant with the new laws — as some of those rifles held more than the now legal limit of 10 rounds. This severely diminishes their value.
“They don’t all have over 10 rounds. Those that do, we have to modify them, so they can’t be returned to the original state.”
Tragically, this has resulted in a great number of New Zealand’s war relics being modified to become legal, or handed in to police for destruction.
“You can’t sell glued together antique china and expect to get a good price”
“A Henry rifle made in the 1860s (we haven’t got one) but when in good order they are worth thousands, $30-60,000, if it is engraved over $100,000,” says Kath.
Kath says that the police were unwilling to provide or facilitate safekeeping of the historic firearms handed in during the forced buy-back. This means that many firearms used by New Zealanders in past wars have now been destroyed and their history tragically lost.
“Until now gun owners have never had to fear the police and were always able to talk freely with them about firearms and related issues. Now, all of a sudden there is a real genuine fear out there that we are in the firing line big time,” says Kath.
Kath is fearful that the police in New Zealand Police’s attitude towards law-abiding firearms owners is changing, and that raids like that which occurred against Dieuwe de Boer — who was raided for what he felt was being vocal about the firearms laws, were just a hint of what’s to come for New Zealands law abiding owners.
The Arnolds have been firearms collectors for over 50 years, but “Now, all of a sudden there is a real genuine fear out there that we are in the firing line big time,”.
“We do feel like we have something we need to defend ourselves from — but not with firearms.”