Published: Sun, July 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

New Zealand Holds First Gun Buyback After Christchurch Attack

New Zealand Holds First Gun Buyback After Christchurch Attack

Licensed firearms owners will have six months to surrender weapons that have now been deemed illegal under the scheme, with an amnesty ensuring they will not face prosecution during that period. The police expect that tens of thousands of guns will be surrendered, although the exact number is unknown.

Including guns given up during a test on Friday, police have now paid 378 weapon owners in Canterbury a total $1,022,599 for weapons prohibited by a law change introduced after the Christchurch mosque shootings.

The government said the law would remove the most risky guns from the community.

The 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 legislation, passed quickly and nearly unanimously in Parliament, outlaws military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles, though it includes exemptions for pest controllers, .22 rifles and pump action shotguns' smaller ammo capacity.

"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.

But some owners are complaining that the compensation is inadequate.

Users unable to logon — Twitter down
Although their support account hasn't shared any updates , Twitter seemed to keep a sense of humor about the situation. A huge spike in problems was reported , with the majority of the issues reported on websites, followed by apps.

There's been a high security presence as armed police monitor and usher in gun owners - many accompanied by their partners - who have come to hand over their semi-automitic weapons.

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.

There are concerns too that farming communities, which rely on firearms for hunting and pest control, will suffer because of the weapons ban.

Christchurch gun proprietor Vincent Sanders disclosed to TV New Zealand that he would remain away in the wake of being offered only $150 for his granddad's 100-year-old firearm.

New Zealand authorities hope the scheme will be as successful as one in Australia that was implemented after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 on the island of Tasmania, where a lone gunman murdered 35 people.

Mr Tarrant in June pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges, as well as 51 counts of murder and 40 of attempted murder.

"Regional police commander Mike Johnson praised the attitude of gun owners at the buyback event".

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