Dec 21, 2019

New Zealanders hand over 50,000 semi-automatic weapons to government

Pile of guns people handed over to New Zealand police

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

The government of New Zealand said on Saturday that roughly 33,000 gun owners turned in more than 50,000 firearms as part of a six-month buyback program following an assault weapons ban that wrapped up Friday at midnight, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government banned most semi-automatic weapons within a month of the Christchurch mosque attack, which killed 51 people. However, critics claim many owners have illegally kept their firearms, AP writes.

  • An additional 2,700 guns were modified to make them compliant with government standards, and authorities say they've seized another 1,800 guns from gangs since March, per AP.

What they're saying:

  • Police Minister Stuart Nash said criminals wouldn't be able to access the guns as easily given they often stole the weapons from law-abiding gun owners, who no longer have them, according to AP.
  • Nicole McKee, a spokesperson for Council of Licensed Firearms Owners, said people kept nearly two-thirds of banned weapons because they weren't adequately compensated and no longer trusted the government.

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