New Zealanders turning over firearms after mass shooting

New Zealanders turning over firearms after mass shooting
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Authorities in New Zealand said citizens have been turning their firearms over to police in the days after a terror attack that targeted two mosques in Christchurch left at least 50 people dead, The Guardian reports.

New Zealand police confirmed to the international news agency that at least 37 firearms had been handed over across the country as of Tuesday evening.  

The report comes after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed her country would have new gun control proposals "within 10 days" following last week’s shooting.

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"Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer," Ardern said at a weekly Cabinet meeting on Monday.

She also emerged from the meeting encouraging others in New Zealand to hand in their firearms to police and advised people who are interested in purchasing a firearm to wait several days before doing so to gain more understanding on the country’s laws. 

“As the prime minister announced, anybody wanting to surrender their firearms to police is welcome to do so,” New Zealand police advised the public, according to The Guardian.

Local police also urged people interested in surrendering their firearms to contact and alert authorities when they would be bringing in a firearm to keep tensions from rising amid heightened security concerns.

“You can contact your local police station or your local arms officer to get advice on the safe transport of the firearm to police. This will also enable our staff to be aware of your arrival ahead of time.”

John Hart, who previously ran as Green Party candidate in the country’s 2017 election, was one of a number of New Zealanders who have surrendered their firearms to police in recent days.

Hart, who also owns a sheep and beef farm near Masterton, told The Guardian that while having a semi-automatic rifle is useful for a number of tasks on his farm, he felt it was “actually too dangerous to have around as a weapon.”

 

“For me, it became that trade-off: is my convenience worth the risk to other people’s lives by having these guns in the country? I pretty quickly realized there was no comparison. We’ll cope without semi-automatic weapons, we won’t cope without the people who were taken from us from these events,” Hart said. 

“I recognize one person handing in a gun to the police is not going to change the world, but it’s a start, the country is now one gun safer than it was before,” he added.