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Over 56,000 guns collected in NZ buyback scheme

Wellington, Dec 21 (IANS) More than 56,000 firearms and close to 200,000 firearms parts have been handed during the New Zealand government’s six-month buyback scheme and amnesty launched in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch mosque shootings that killed 51 people, a police official said on Saturday.

Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement said the large number of firearms handed in showed that most of the gun owners understood why the buyback was launched, reports The New Zealand Herald.

“We hope to never again see the kind of attack we saw in Christchurch,” he told the media here.

Provisional figures showed that 56,250 firearms and 194,245 parts had been handed in during the six-month buyback scheme that ended on Friday midnight.

Forty three gun dealers also collected 6145 firearms on behalf of police.

Police also experienced a last-minute rush with 4,154 hand-ins during the final week.

“We kept our collection events open late last (Friday) night to ensure the firearms owners who left it to the last minute did have the opportunity to do the right thing,” Clement said.

Police Minister Stuart Nash also hailed the buyback as a success, The New Zealand Herald said.

“We have taken well over 50,000 of these guns out of our community,” he said, adding: “That’s got to be a good thing.”

–IANS

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