//New Zealand collects greater than 50Okay weapons after assault weapon ban following mosque assault

New Zealand collects greater than 50Okay weapons after assault weapon ban following mosque assault

New Zealand authorities stated Saturday their nation can be a safer place after homeowners handed in additional than 50,000 weapons throughout a buyback program following a ban on assault weapons. However critics say the method was flawed and many homeowners have illegally stashed their firearms.

The federal government banned the most lethal types of semi-automatic weapons lower than a month after a lone gunman in March killed 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques. The police then launched a six-month program to buy the newly banned weapons from owners.

The buyback ended midnight Friday, with gun assortment occasions staying open late as police reported in a surge in last-minute returns.

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Provisional figures point out 33,000 folks handed in 51,000 weapons, and one other 5,000 weapons as a part of a parallel amnesty by which homeowners might hand over any kind of firearm with none questions being requested however with out getting compensated.

House owners additionally modified one other 2,700 weapons to make them legally compliant, whereas police stated they’d seized an extra 1,800 weapons from gangs since March. And police stated they’re within the means of amassing one other 1,600 weapons from gun sellers.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during an interview in Wellington, New Zealand, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. Ardern said she’ll do all she can to stop a man accused of killing 51 Muslim worshippers from spreading his message of hate at his trial. She also hopes artificial intelligence will one day stop such attacks from being broadcast online. (AP Photo/Sam James)

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks throughout an interview in Wellington, New Zealand, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. Ardern stated she’ll do all she will to cease a person accused of killing 51 Muslim worshippers from spreading his message of hate at his trial. She additionally hopes synthetic intelligence will in the future cease such assaults from being broadcast on-line. (AP Picture/Sam James)

Police Minister Stuart Nash instructed reporters Saturday that criminals would discover it tougher to get their fingers on assault weapons as a result of they tended to steal them from lawful homeowners, however these weapons would now be out of circulation.

Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement thanked gun homeowners for doing the proper factor. He acknowledged in a press release it had been “a difficult process for some people.”

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Each Nash and Clement stated the nation was now safer than it had been earlier than the March assaults.

However Nicole McKee, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group Council of Licensed Firearms House owners, stated homeowners had stored about two-thirds of the banned weapons as a result of they’d misplaced religion within the authorities and hadn’t been supplied enough compensation.

“They by no means overcame being blamed by authorities for being in some way liable for a heinous act of terrorism — one thing they’d by no means do,” McKee stated in a press release.

The ban on assault weapons was strongly backed by lawmakers in an historic 119-1 vote after the mosque attacks. Lawmakers at the moment are contemplating additional restrictions, together with making a register to trace all weapons.

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Police figures point out the federal government paid out simply over 100 million New Zealand {dollars} ($66 million) to compensate homeowners through the buyback.