First gun buyback event a success, say NZ police

MELBOURNE • Police have labelled New Zealand's first firearms buyback event a success, after 169 individuals handed in 224 prohibited firearms in the city of Christchurch.

It comes four months after the country's worst peacetime mass shooting, which killed 51 people and injured dozens in attacks on two mosques in the city.

The buyback event was the first of 258 planned until the end of the year, to compensate owners of powerful, but newly banned, semi-automatic weapons following the attacks.

The attitude of firearm owners who participated was "outstanding", police official Mike Johnson said in a statement.

"They have really engaged in the process here today and we have had positive feedback," he added.

One gun owner, who sought anonymity, told the New Zealand Herald newspaper that he was happy with the NZ$13,000 (S$11,800) he received for his semi-automatic hunting firearm, despite initial doubts.

"I didn't think this would be a fair process at all - I wasn't particularly happy about it. But the outcome was good and they handled it well," the paper quoted him as saying.

Police said gun owners were paid a total of NZ$433,682 in compensation yesterday. The government has set aside NZ$208 million for the scheme.

Parliament passed the gun reform legislation - the first substantial changes to New Zealand's gun laws in decades - by a vote of 119 to 1 in April.

 

The new laws bar the circulation and use of most semi-automatic firearms, parts that convert firearms into semi-automatics, magazines over a certain capacity and some shotguns.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 14, 2019, with the headline 'First gun buyback event a success, say NZ police'. Print Edition | Subscribe