The Ownership of Semi-Automatic Rifles is a Contentious Issue for the Firearm Community and Police
by Cecile Meier, Stuff
The online form for people to hand-in their illegal guns has been shut down for overseas users after a flood of fake submissions – but it appears the error is affecting some local networks too.
A police spokeswoman said the form was blocked for people based overseas and should work for people here, but three Stuff staff in two locations were unable to access the form from the company’s network. The form was accessible through the staff’s personal smart phones though.
Are you planning to surrender your semi-automatic gun(s) to police? Email email@example.com
Another police form where people could report information in relation to the attacks has been removed because of spam content, the spokeswoman said.
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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday two more groups of semi-automatic guns would be classified as military-style semi-automatic firearms following Christchurch’s terror attacks.
More than 250,000 New Zealanders own a firearm, and many now own them illegally following changes to gun laws. Police asked people to surrender their illegal firearms as quickly as possible. They asked people register their intention to do so through an online form or by calling police on 0800 311 311.
Since the form was created on Thursday, it appears opponents to the law change, many of them based overseas, have flooded the police website with fake notifications.
“Some people have decided it is a good use of their time to misuse the form and submit ‘fake’ notifications to hand in weapons,” Assistant Commissioner Tusha Penny said in a statement on Friday.
“While these individuals may be short of productive work to do, police are not. In the current environment this is unacceptable.
“These vexatious forms are a huge waste of police time and resources, which could be put to better use.”
Some overseas-based pro-guns website boasted about the trolling after noticing the form had shut-down to overseas users: “It’s a small victory and the bigger battle lies ahead, but it’s one battle in a wider war. The message has been sent by the global firearm community,” one website author wrote. Another such website celebrated the “massive amounts of online trolling”.
The 0800 number dedicated to people wanting to hand-in their guns has been busy since Thursday.
It had received 854 calls as of Sunday morning.
An amnesty is in place that allows people to surrender their guns without legal action against them. It will run until further notice.
New Illegal Firearms Classifications
– Semi-automatic firearm that can be used in combination with detachable magazine (other than one designed to hold 0.22-inch or smaller rimfire cartridges), and capable of holding more than five cartridges
– Semi-automatic shotgun capable of being used in combination with a detachable magazine that can hold more than five cartridges