Wellington: More than 400 guns and parts were on Saturday handed back in New Zealand as a six-month buyback scheme and amnesty launched in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch mosque shootings that killed 51 people, went into operation.
Police have paid out $433,000 to 169 gun owners at the New Zealand government's first gun buyback event, reports stuff.co.nz. A steady stream of gun owners arrived at the Riccarton Racecourse in Christchurch on Saturday.
Canterbury's Acting District Commander Mike Johnson said gun owners had come out in force for what had been a "positive experience for them and our staff".
"We've had 169 people come through today, we've been handed over 224 firearms, 217 parts and $433,000 has been paid out," Johnson said. "It's a great first step, but it's only a first step and we've got six months to make sure we follow on positively from the day we've had today."
About 903 Canterbury gun owners have registered 1,415 firearms with the police. Licenced firearms owners have until December 20 to surrender weapons that have now been deemed illegal under the scheme.
The amnesty to surrender firearms, parts, magazines and ammunition will also continue till the same date. The buyback price will reflect the brand, make and model of the prohibited firearm, its base price, and its condition and dealers will be compensated for stock.
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.