New Zealanders give up weapons
CHRISTCHURCH, July 13: Dozens of New Zealanders handed in their firearms on Saturday as a gun buyback scheme went into operation aimed at ridding the country of semi-automatic weapons in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks.
The first of more than 250 collections to be held nationwide was in Christchurch, where 51 Muslim worshippers were gunned down while at prayer less than four months ago.
The government, with support from opposition parties, immediately rushed through legislation to tighten New Zealand's gun laws.
Police Minister Stuart Nash said the objective was to "remove the most dangerous weapons from circulation".
With armed police monitoring the handover, 169 firearms owners handed in 224 weapons and 217 parts and accessories. They were then crushed in hydraulic presses.
More than NZ$433,600 ($290,300) was paid out in compensation.
Regional police commander Mike Johnson said 903 gun owners in the Canterbury region, which includes Christchurch, had registered 1,415 firearms to be handed in. -AFP