Firearms buyback starts with a bang

Some of the firearms collected and destroyed in Waipu.

Sixty-eight firearms and 122 accessories were handed in by 42 firearm owners in Waipu on July 17, while in Maungaturoto, 38 firearms and 39 accessories were collected on July 18.

Northland police inspector Chris McLellan said police were pleased with what were the first rural firearm buyback events in the country.

“People came from across a number of different areas to surrender their firearms and wanted to take the opportunity to do the right thing,” he says.

Another buyback event is planned at Waipu Rugby Club from 3pm to 7pm on August 28 and at the Wellsford Community Centre on September 29 from 10am to 2pm.

Meanwhile, a 25-year-old man in Coatesville has been arrested and charged after allegedly making a false statement to Police about his prohibited firearms being stolen.

The man claimed his garage had been broken into and offenders had gained access to his gun safe, stealing two firearms – a 9mm pistol and a rifle.

Police carried out a scene examination and after speaking with the man further, he allegedly admitted to hiding the firearms.

Officers then discovered the two firearms, along with two other semi-automatic weapons, hidden in the ceiling cavity of a walk-in-wardrobe.

The man appeared in the North Shore District Court charged with making a false statement. Detective Senior Sergeant Nadene Richmond says it serves as a warning to those who try to avoid the prohibited firearms buyback and amnesty scheme.

“The overwhelming majority of firearms holders have been doing the right thing, and we acknowledge their goodwill and cooperation,” she says.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the Government intends to introduce a national gun register and prohibit firearm ownership for people who are not NZ citizens.

In response, Federated Farmers says it has historically opposed the compulsory registration of all firearms, based on the complexity and cost as well as “questionable safety benefits”.

“We haven’t had a firearms register in New Zealand for almost 40 years. Re-establishing one would require considerable investment, both economically and socially,” rural security spokesperson Miles Anderson says.

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