New Zealanders Give Up Firearms after Mosque Killings

New Zealand Gun Buyback

New Zealand Gun Buyback

James Agnew, one of hundreds of gun owners who showed up to the gun amnesty in Christchurch, reflected how many were feeling.

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

The nation's top police officer, Mike Bush, providing no more answers at a press conference yesterday.

Within weeks, members of Parliament voted to change their gun laws, banning military-style semi-automatic weapons.

New Zealand Police Minister Stuart Nash had said, "The buyback and amnesty has one objective - to remove the most unsafe weapons from circulation following the loss of life at Al Noor and Linwood mosques", while launching the buyback scheme last month. "There was a real reality that this was the first of these processes, and they were here to hand them in and get fair compensation for their weapons".

He said after today's success, hopefully more of them would have increased confidence in the process. "However the final result used to be factual and they dealt with it smartly", he urged the Original Zealand Herald newspaper.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the objective was to "remove the most unsafe weapons from circulation".

"It's very hard to know if 900 is a lot, or 900 is not many, because you didn't need to record if you were buying one of these banned firearms, you didn't need to have a special endorsement on your firearms licence".

Police said they paid more than 430,000 New Zealand dollars ($288,000) to 169 gun owners during the event.

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The government has put aside more than 200 million New Zealand dollars (133.90 million US dollars) for payments and administration of the gun buyback and amnesty.

One gun owner - who wants to remain anonymous - says he didn't have much faith going in.

"This is not just about semi-automatics, it's MMSA's [military-style semi-automatic] - and then of course addressing the compensation issue. They've got a gunsmith on site who goes over it with you - and I reckon they're being pretty fair".

A police spokesperson says they've only had one dispute over price so far, and it was able to be peacefully resolved.

Stuart Nash said it's hard to set a budget for the buyback scheme because they do not know how many guns are out there.

But he says he can't fault how police are handling the unique and new situation.

"I think the Government is overreacting, and police are having to mop up the mess they've made".

Andrew Patrick, media director of The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence, said the nationwide gun buyback plan demonstrates the type of "action and accountability in response to a horrific mass shooting that is unfortunately missing in the United States of America".

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