New Zealand's first gun buyback event a success, police say

New Zealand's first gun buyback event a success, police say

Christchurch firearm owner Vincent Sanders told TV New Zealand that he would be staying away after being offered just $150 for his grandfather's 100-year-old gun.

A total of $1,022,599 has been compensated to firearms owners, and along with 542 firearms there was a total of 578 parts and accessories collected. The money was paid directly into the bank accounts of gun owners.

This first buyback comes four months after a gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch, killed 51 people and injured dozens more.

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

A high security presence was seen at the event as gun owners, accompanied by their families, handed over their semi-automatic weapons.

Police on Saturday said they had one dispute about prices. According to estimates, the country likely has somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5 million guns across its 4.6 million residents - or roughly one weapon for every three residents.

A new option allows owners of some prohibited firearms to have them modified by approved gunsmiths to make them lawful, with costs up to NZ$300.

"Many of those who handed over firearms commented how easy the process is, how the prices are fair, and how Police made the whole event go smoothly".

Saturday's handed arms were crushed in hydraulic presses and more than NZ$433,600 ($290,300) was paid out in compensation.

"It's been a great start and we want to say thank you to those Canterbury firearms owners that have taken part already".

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

Johnson said he was "ecstatic" with the turnout, which he said was strong despite concerns from local gun rights groups that gun owners participating in the buyback might be demonized.

One seller says most of the people he's spoken to are responsible gun owners - and annoyed they have to be there at all. The law changed and now they hold prohibited weapons.

She said the group wasn't in communication with the NRA, other than receiving a note of sympathy from the USA organization after the March attacks.

The buy-back in Christchurch, where a couple of mosque shooters left 51 dead earlier this year, is the first of many planned for this year, NPR said. He remains in jail ahead of his trial, which has been scheduled for next May.

Australian-born Brenton Tarrant has been charged with the killings and is alleged to have used an arsenal of five weapons, including two military-style semi-automatic rifles, in the attacks on the two mosques.

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