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Police praise firearms owners’ response to the buy-back

NZ Police today thanked Kiwi firearms owners for doing the right thing as it announced provisional figures for firearms handed in during the six month prohibited firearms buy-back and amnesty.

“As of midnight, 20 December 2019, 56,250 firearms and 194,245 parts have been handed in.

There has also been 2717 firearms modified to make them lawful,” says Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement.

As expected, Police experienced a surge of people in the last few days of the buy-back with more than 4154 hand-ins occurring in the last week.

“We kept our collection events open late last night to ensure those firearms owners who left it to the last minute did have the opportunity to do the right thing.

“Police welcome any opportunity to reduce harm in our communities and ultimately, the more than 30,000 hand-ins indicate that firearms owners understood the why – that we hope to never again see the kind of attack we saw in Christchurch,” says DC Clement.

Police had just 3 months to get the firearms buy-back process in place and start communicating this to firearms owners.

“Right from the beginning we have said that the prohibition of semi-automatics was not blaming law-abiding people with legitimate uses for their gun.

“The gun buy-back is unprecedented and has been a huge logistical exercise for Police which has taken outstanding commitment by our Districts who have gone the extra mile to work with firearms owners,” says DC Clement.

“Police wanted to support firearm owners by providing a range of options to hand in their prohibited firearms.

Those options included holding 685 collection events in every corner of New Zealand from Stewart Island to Kaitaia and everywhere in between.

These included both public and closed local collection events.

We went to more than 270 people’s residences when they had large quantities of firearms or had transport constraints.

Forty three dealers operated a dealer channel and collected 6145 firearms on Police’s behalf and we thank them.

“We also made it clear that there were exemption options if they met the criteria to retain their firearm under the P endorsement licence.

Thirty seven gunsmiths were provided for firearms owners to get their firearm modified if it was eligible to do so, be it for sentimental purposes or because it is a working tool.

“Police really have made every effort to provide frequent and accessible options to firearms owners so there really were no excuses for not taking part.

While there were lessons we learnt along the way, overwhelmingly those that took part told us we got it right and this was verified through an independent survey.

“We will be following up directly with a minority of licensees who we know have purposely chosen to flout the law and have not handed in their firearms.

We have been very clear to people what the repercussions are of choosing not to hand in their firearms.

“For anyone that has refused to abide by the law, my advice to you is to go to a station and hand in your firearm under amnesty now.

You will not receive any compensation but this is the best thing you can do if you do not want to face the other option – potential prosecution and the loss of your licence.

“We acknowledge this has been a difficult process for some people and we want to thank all of those firearms owners that have taken part in the Amnesty & Buy-back process,” says DC Clement.

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