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Sat Dec 21, 2019, 08:40 AM

New Zealanders hand in 50,000 guns after assault weapon ban [View all]

Source: AP

By NICK PERRY

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) New Zealand authorities said Saturday their country will be a safer place after owners handed in more than 50,000 guns during a buyback program following a ban on assault weapons. But critics say the process was flawed and many owners have illegally stashed their firearms.

The government banned the most lethal types of semi-automatic weapons less than a month after a lone gunman in March killed 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques. The police then launched a six-month program to buy the newly banned weapons from owners.

The buyback ended midnight Friday, with gun collection events staying open late as police reported in a surge in last-minute returns.

Provisional figures indicate 33,000 people handed in 51,000 guns, and another 5,000 guns as part of a parallel amnesty in which owners could hand over any type of firearm without any questions being asked but without getting compensated.



FILE - In this April 2, 2019, file photo, police acting superintendent Mike McIlraith shows New Zealand lawmakers an AR-15 style rifle similar to one of the weapons a gunman used to slaughter 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques, in Wellington, New Zealand. New Zealand authorities said Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, their country will be a safer place after gun owners handed in more than 50,000 guns during a buyback program after the government banned assault weapons. But critics say the process was flawed and many owners have illegally stashed their guns. (AP Photo/Nick Perry, File)

Read more: https://apnews.com/467c462a5bbc0af37eea20ed24af95df

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