NZ: Hand in your semi-automatics or 5 years’ jail

People with military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) weapons and assault rifles have until the end of September to hand them over to police or face five years’ jail.

And Police Minister Stuart Nash has issued a stern warning to gangs who have said they will keep their MSSAs: hand them in or face a new penalty of up to five years’ jail.

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill has been introduced to Parliament and will have its first reading tomorrow, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and Nash announced today

It will be reported back from select committee on April 8 following a shortened period of public consultation, and come into force on April 12. It is expected to pass with cross-party support, though Act leader David Seymour has yet to decide if he will vote for the bill.

The bill will outlaw military-style semi-automatic (MSSA) weapons and assault rifles, though there would be exemptions for guns commonly used by farmers for pest control, as well as hunters.

The exemptions would be semi-automatic .22 rifles (with a magazine which holds no more than 10 rounds), as well as semi-automatic or pump action shotguns with internal magazines (holding no more than five rounds).

The Mongrel Mob said at the weekend that it would not hand over MSSAs, but Nash pointed to the new penalty of five years’ jail for possession: “My advice to the gangs is, ‘Hand your weapons back.'”

Other new offences for using MSSAs or shotguns with more than five rounds include:

• Up to 10 years’ jail for resisting arrest

• Up to seven years’ jail for use in a public place; presenting them at another person; carrying them with criminal intent; possession while committing an offence that has a maximum penalty of three years or more

• Up to five years’ jail for importing, possessing, or supplying or selling, or using a banned part to convert a firearm into an MSSA.

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