New Zealanders hand in thousands of weapons after mosque attacks

New Zealanders have handed in more than 10,000 guns, weapons and accessories during the first week of an amnesty buy-back scheme.

“Momentum is slowly starting to build as community collection events are held across the entire country,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said in a statement on Sunday evening.

Police have held a total of 25 buyback events over the past week.

“Provisional figures show 2,143 firearms owners have participated since the buyback got underway, handing in 3,275 firearms, 7,827 prohibited parts and accessories, and receiving payments of 6.2 million New Zealand dollars (4.2 million US dollars) in compensation,” he said.

“I’ve lost a friend in the events in Christchurch and I don’t see the reason why we should be allowed guns like this,” Auckland man Farooq Kassibawi told Radio New Zealand in a story published on Monday.”This only works if everybody abides by the rules, so I’d really like to urge all gun owners to abide by the rules so we can keep New Zealand safe,” he added.

Owners have until December 20 to hand in illegal weapons under an amnesty agreement, after New Zealand banned most semi-automatic firearms, some pump action shotguns and certain large capacity magazines in April.

The ban came less than a month after 51 people were killed and dozens injured when a suspected white supremacist opened fire at the Christchurch mosques.