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  • New Zealanders are handing over weapons following the terrorist attack which claimed the lives of at least 50 people.

    New Zealanders are handing over weapons following the terrorist attack which claimed the lives of at least 50 people. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 March 2019

New Zealand police said, so far, about 37 firearms had been handed in across the country.

New Zealand gun owners have begun handing over weapons to the authorities following the terrorist attack which claimed the lives of at least 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch Friday.

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Citizens across the Oceanic state are reportedly appearing at local police stations to surrender their semiautomatic rifles, Newsweek reports. The police issued a statement asking people to call before attempting to surrender any firearm.

"Until today, I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semiautomatic rifle," a farmer, John Hart, wrote on Twitter. "On the farm, they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn't outweigh the risk of misuse.”

New Zealand police said, so far, about 37 firearms had been handed in across the country.

A number of other gun owners have also taken to social media to urging Kiwis - as New Zealanders are widely known - to follow suit.

The attack marks New Zealand's first mass shooting in nearly 30 years and prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vow to introduce new gun laws

"As the Cabinet we were absolutely unified and very clear, the terror attack in Christchurch on Friday was the worst act of terrorism on our shores, it was, in fact, one of the worst globally in recent times, it has exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand's gun laws," the head of government said.

The PM has also encouraged gun owners to surrender their guns.

"We don't need these in our country," Hart added, while displaying a form which requests the "destruction" of his weapon. "We have make sure it's #NeverAgain."

New Zealand hunting lobby, Fish and Game NZ, supports the call for a ban and buyback of military-style semi-automatic weapons as well as a limitation on the sale of high-capacity magazines to prevent people from illegally modifying a smaller capacity semi-automatic rifle into a military-style weapon.

“They are designed for one thing only and that’s to kill people,” Fish and Game NZ chief executive Martin Taylor told Radio NZ.

In contrast, ex-New Zealand Deerstalkers' Association (NZDA) President Bill O'Leary said the organization would cooperate with the government but will not advise members to part ways with their semi-automatic firearms.

"We will cooperate with the government and put to the government through a process our proposals for how those firearms could be legalized or withdrawn, but withdrawn in such a manner that the people who have invested money in those firearms are not left out of pocket.”

O'Leary noted that military-style firearms were used by a very small group of people in New Zealand. 

"The people who are holding what are called MMSAs are holding them with a current New Zealand firearms licence, therefore they are legal at this stage."

In response to negative comments, Hart also wrote: "The devil doesn't need any more advocates."


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