Published: Mon, July 15, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Gun owners hand over firearms at first buyback event in Christchurch

Gun owners hand over firearms at first buyback event in Christchurch

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced shortly after the shooting that the country would ban the sale of all assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons. "Once again, I can't thank the Canterbury firearms owners enough for their support and engagement in this process".

Licenced firearms owners have until December 20 to surrender weapons that have now been deemed illegal under the scheme.

A total of 224 guns were handed in today at the Government's first buyback event.

"It's been a very positive experience, we're really proud of what we've achieved today".

The network reported that the owners received a total equivalent of approximately $300,000.

Although more than 900 Cantabrians had signed up online to hand in their guns, police didn't find today's attendance a let-down. "But the outcome was good and they handled it well", he told the New Zealand Herald newspaper.

Delivering an emotional speech to parliament in April, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: "I can not imagine circumstances where that is more necessary than it is now".

In addition, a prohibited firearm or part was handed in at a rate of more than one a minute, and payments were processed at a rate of more than $1400 per minute.

More than $130 million has been set aside to compensate owners of semi-automatic weapons.

Regional police commander Mike Johnson said 903 gun owners in the Canterbury region, which includes Christchurch, had registered 1,415 firearms to be handed in.

"They do want to abide by the new laws but they have no incentive and they're having fingers pointed at them and are being treated like criminals", McKee said.

"This is not just about semi-automatics, it's MMSA's [military-style semi-automatic] - and then of course addressing the compensation issue".

He said he was happy with the amount of money he got for what was a very expensive purchase.

"I didn't think this would be a fair process at all - I wasn't particularly happy about it".

She said gun owners were forced to rely on police assessments of the condition of their guns and weren't getting paid anything for the thousands of dollars they had spent on tax as well as certain accessories and ammunition.

"Get your hands out of your pockets and start showing these people you are going to be fair, and you are going to be reasonable when confiscating their private property".

Chris Cahill, from the New Zealand Police Association, which represents officers, believes the buy-back scheme will go smoothly.

The second gun buyback event will also be held in Christchurch.

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