The buyback campaign was started in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings in March, during which 51 people died and another 49 were injured. The horrifying attacks went down as the deadliest mass shootings in modern history in the country.
10,242 firearms have been turned in since the program began last month, CNN reported Monday. In a statement, police said the public’s engagement with the new program has been positive, noting that regional officials are anticipating growing participation as the buyback campaign moves closer to its Dec. 20 deadline.
The buyback was preceded by the April 2019 passage—notably just one month after the Christchurch shootings—of the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act. That move banned the bulk of semiautomatic firearms, assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, and any parts that could potentially be used to assemble firearms deemed prohibited.
The inaugural buyback/collection push was a two-day event held in Christchurch in July, with hundreds of similar events slated to be held across the country over the next several months.
In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in March when announcing the swift gun law reform measures with which the nation was moving forward.
Of the more than 10,000 firearms handed over thus far, 1,269 of them are said to have been done so under amnesty, meaning cops do not ask acquisition questions regardless of license and/or paperwork shortcomings.
The most recent estimates place the total number of firearms across New Zealand at somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5 million, The Guardian added in their report Monday. Conviction on a banned firearms charge in the area, meanwhile, can result in up to five years behind bars.