Strong first week of firearms buy-back events
The first full week of the firearms buy-back and amnesty has produced a strong turnout as events roll out nationwide for the first time.
“Momentum is slowly starting to build as community collection events are held across the entire country, says Police Minister Stuart Nash.
“After the first collection in Christchurch last weekend, Police held 24 further public collection events from Northland to Otago and from the West Coast of the South Island to eastern Bay of Plenty. Seven were held today.
“Provisional figures show 2143 firearms owners have participated since the buyback got underway, handing in 3275 firearms, 7827 prohibited parts and accessories, and receiving payments of $6,185,768 in compensation.
“The strongest turnout for a single day was at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland today, where 240 people took part, handing in 405 prohibited firearms and 1343 parts and accessories.
“There has also been a steady response at events in some of our smaller centres over the past few days, like Waipu, Te Aroha, Ohope, Hokitika and Mosgiel.
“Local Police commanders at each event are consistently reporting the same response: firearms owners want to do the right thing. Many events have seen people queuing before the doors open, ready to hand in firearms, parts and ammunition.
“In my own community of Hawke’s Bay, Eastern District Commander Tania Kura reflected a view common around the country. Superintendent Kura noted some gun owners turn up feeling a little apprehensive, but once they get inside they find Police make it go smoothly, it is easy to understand, and they get a fair price.
“Police are working hard to get alongside gun owners and are committed to treating those going through this process with respect, patience and understanding. They say the conversations they have had with many gun owners have been positive and engaging.
“I am full of praise for the way gun owners and Police are managing this process. New Zealand has never run a gun buyback and amnesty before. Police officers and staff have put a tremendous effort into planning for this, and firearms owners are responding in kind.
“This was never aimed at the vast majority of law abiding gun owners. They have done nothing wrong. The law changed and they now hold prohibited weapons. However after the terror attack of 15 March we had to act to remove the most dangerous weapons from circulation,” Mr Nash says.