New Zealand’s Gun Buyback Database Breach

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David Starkopf

On March 15 of this year, the ChristChurch mosque shooting in New Zealand that took the lives of 51 people took place, and this sparked the decision of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to enforce stricter gun laws and registry. In addition, this movement included a gun buyback program that reduced the amount of privately owned guns by citizens. This removed the risk of prosecution from the seller, however, it has recently introduced a new pressing matter with the safety of New Zealand’s people. Reports of personal information of users being leaked include the following: names, addresses, dates of birth, firearms license numbers and bank account details. Although the police have only released one case of this occurring with criminal activity, members from different gun lobbies have spoken to more individuals who have been able to access the credentials on the website. The website was shut down on Dec. 1 due to government and safety officials’ concern for public safety.

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Prime Minister Ardern after giving her address to the public on future gun laws

Nicole McKee, a member of the Council of Licensed Firearms Owners claims, “It’s a shopping list for criminals,” adding further that citizens attempting to sell their firearms were “now being told they have to comply with a system that cannot be trusted.”

By New Zealand’s government’s terms, they have made many progressive changes towards reducing the chances of gun violence. The popularity of the subject matter was displayed in the parliament’s vote to ban semiautomatic weapons by 119 to 1. It is unknown when or if the website will reboot, but safety officials have expressed their need to ensure the security of it before reopening. Investigations on the degree of damage done is still ongoing, and future updates are unknown.