New Zealanders give up weapons after mosque killings

Remigio Civitarese
Июля 13, 2019

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

With armed police monitoring the handover, 169 firearms owners handed in 224 weapons and 217 parts and accessories.

The Australian man accused of the killings, Brenton Tarrant, is alleged to have used an arsenal of five weapons, including two military-style semi-automatic rifles, in the attacks on two Christchurch mosques.

More than NZ$433,600 ($290,300) was paid out to gun owners in exchange for their weapons. Police say they paid more than 200,000 New Zealand dollars ($134,000) to 68 gun owners in the first couple of hours of the Saturday event.

"Police recognise that this is a big change for the law-abiding firearms community and we are hearing really positive feedback from people as they come through today that they are finding the process works well for them", acting Canterbury District Commander Mike Johnson said, according to New Zealand Herald.

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".

More than 900 gun owners in the Canterbury region had registered to hand over 1,415 firearms, he added.

The government, with support from opposition parties, immediately rushed through legislation to tighten New Zealand's gun laws.

In the wake of the worst massacre in modern New Zealand history, MPs voted 119-1 to outlaw military-style semi-automatics, which allow the rapid fire of high-calibre bullets.

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.

After the amnesty expires, possession of a prohibited firearm will be punishable by up to five years in jail. The government has set aside $139.15 million (Rs 954 crore) for the scheme.

"We needed these semi-automatic assault rifles out of the community, but it's appropriate that people who have had to hand them in are compensated for it", he said.

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

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