The gun buy-back is doomed to fail. It's being done on the cheap.
Gun owners are disappointed — understandably — at the prices offered for their guns this week.
If the guns are in good nick, they'll get 95 per cent of the base price. If they're in average nick, they'll get 70 per cent of the base price. And if they're in rubbish condition, they'll only get 25 per cent of the base price.
But what's the base price?
I can tell you what it's not. It's not the retail price. It's not what people paid for those guns.
It's essentially the secondhand price.
Which means someone with a new military style semi-automatic weapon, bought the day before the Christchurch attack, before we changed our minds about those guns, won't get anything near what they paid.
Take what they paid, deduct the profit the gun shop owner put on it and then take 95 per cent of that.
That's not fair. And it's not an incentive to hand in the gun.
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Negotiation doesn't seem much of an option. It's not as if these gun owners can say thanks but no thanks to the price, pack up the gun and head home. Even if they're being paid less than they think they deserve, even if there's a dispute about the condition of the gun, they have to hand it in. The authorities now know they have the thing.
Which is why gun owners are already talking about hiding their guns. Privately, some of them are saying they might bury them in the backyard. It's as much about principle as it is about price. They feel ripped off.
This scheme relies on buy-in from gun owners. We're relying on them being honest about what guns they have. Because only they know what guns they have.
We have no blimmin' idea what's out there and how many there are.
So, if you want gun owners to be upfront and honest, you need to incentivise them. Because the alternative is way too easy. They'll just hide the guns and we'll never know.
Fundamentally, what is the point of this buy-back scheme? Surely, it is to collect the military style semi-automatic weapons in this country. All of them.