14 Jul 2019

Gun buyback: Public fully in favour, professor says

12:11 pm on 14 July 2019

There's been a smaller turnout on day two of the Canterbury firearms collection event at Riccarton Racecourse in Christchurch this morning.

Dozens of gun owners handed in their weapons, which have been made illegal in the wake of the mosque shootings.

Dozens of gun owners handed in their weapons, which have been made illegal in the wake of the mosque shootings. Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

Yesterday 169 gun owners handed in a total of 224 prohibited firearms, and 217 parts and accessories - as a result of legislation passed after the mosque attacks in the city.

Today's gun amnesty event began at 10am today but by midday a trickle of fewer than 30 people had arrived for their weapons to be processed.

The government has restricted ownership of semi-automatic weapons, following the Christchurch mosque attacks, and a nationwide amnesty will run until 20 December.

Compensation will be deposited into the owners' bank accounts within 10 days.

The police say the attitude from gun owners towards yesterday's process was outstanding and it went without a hitch.

They're hoping for the same results today.

Professor Kevin Clements, who researches Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University, told the ABC general public opinion is "completely in favour" of buying back illegal guns.

"The reality is we have got twice as many weapons per capita as you have in Australia and six times as many as exists in the United Kingdom so on a per capita basis New Zealand is a fairly overgunned society."

He said that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had responded in much the same way as John Howard, who was Australia's prime minister at the time, after the Port Arthur mass shooting.

But he said some in the gun lobby were urging firearms holders not to hand over their weapons and to bury them instead, and that many were disappointed that ammunition would not be compensated.

After the amnesty expires, possession of prohibited firearms is punishable by up to five years in jail.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said police knew of 14,300 registered military-style semi-automatic rifles and there were an estimated 1.2 million firearms in the community, with the vast majority still legal under the new rules.


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