More illegal firearms surrendered at second New Plymouth amnesty and buy-back

Two more gun buy-back events are planned in Taranaki in the coming months.

SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF

Two more gun buy-back events are planned in Taranaki in the coming months.

While thousands of illegal firearms have already been handed in since law changes, even morehave been surrenderedin Taranaki in recent days.

The second amnesty and buy-back event at New Plymouth Racecourse started on Thursday and ended on Saturday.

Provisional informationprovided by police on Sunday said 92 people attended the three-day event and 143 prohibited firearms and 370 parts were handed in.

The event isone of almost 200 being held around the country following a law change after the Christchurch mosque massacre where 51 people were killed on March 15.

As the gun owners arrived atthe racecoursegates on Friday, their weapons were taken from them and cleared by police before having a flag inserted into the breech and barrel to show it was empty.

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Police fired up the barbecue at New Plymouth Racecourse so gun owners left with a full stomach after handing over their illegal weapons at a buy-back amnesty event on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

SIMON O’CONNOR/STUFF

Police fired up the barbecue at New Plymouth Racecourse so gun owners left with a full stomach after handing over their illegal weapons at a buy-back amnesty event on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Senior Sergeant Geoff Ryan said while there were a number of armed police on site they weren’t expecting any trouble.

“The risk management procedures needed to be in place,” Ryan said.

“They are all coming in voluntarily to participate in the buy-back.”

No ammunition was kept on site but gun owners were able to surrender it to police.

During the first buy-back in New Plymouth in August, 209 gun ownershanded over 343 firearms and 1160 accessories and parts including magazines but Ryan said it wasn’t as busy this time.

“It’s steady numbers but we are not seeing the numbers we firstsaw in the buy-back operation.

“Obviously a few people are attached totheir weapons, some have sentimental value and have been in the family for a long time.”

Ryan said there were a few grumbles as people handed over their prized firearms but it was to be expected.

“Most people realise the effect of the law change and have left reasonably happy withhow the process has gone.”

Afree barbecue was also on offerat the venue.

Ryan said there would be two more buy-back events in Taranaki, with one being held in Hāweraon November 1 and 2, while the final session would run for five days in New Plymouth from December 10 to 14.

“We are expecting as the amnesty gets to near the end more people will come forward so that’s why we are providing that extra big opportunity.”

As atthe end of September, the total compensation paid to firearms owners following amnesty and buy-back events across the country was$49.6 million, with16,723 people handing in 26,338 banned firearms and 96,279 parts.