NZ buys back more than 10,000 guns

World | REUTERS 22 Jul 2019

New Zealanders have handed over more than 10,000 guns, weapons parts and accessories in the first week of a buy-back scheme prompted by the country's worst peacetime mass shooting, police figures released yesterday show.

A gun reform law passed in April banned most semi-automatic firearms, parts that convert firearms into semi-automatics, magazines over a certain capacity and some shotguns.

Owners have until December 20 to hand in their weapons and the government has set aside NZ$208 million (HK$1.09 billion) to compensate them for up to 95 percent of the original cost.

The buyback comes four months after a lone gunman attacked Muslims attending Friday prayers in Christchurch, killing 51 people.

More than 2,000 people have surrendered 3,275 firearms, 7,827 parts and accessories and in return authorities have paid them slightly more than NZ$6 million since the buyback began on Saturday, a police spokesperson said yesterday.

Media reported on Wednesday that Christchurch residents were upset about the proposed opening of a Gun City mega store in the city.

Brenton Tarrant, accused of the March 15 killings, bought four weapons and ammunition from the Gun City chain online from December 2017 to March 2018, owner David Tipple said in March.

Tarrant, due to stand trial in May, has pleaded not guilty to 92 charges over the attacks.

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