Gun owners were queuing before the doors even opened at the first buyback and amnesty event in Northland today.
Within the first hour of the event at the Waipū Rugby Clubrooms, which ran until 7pm, 30 gun owners had handed over firearms and ammunition with one man handing over seven guns.
Some were reluctant to part with their firearms saying they were legal owners who abided by the gun laws and questioned how police would track down people who had guns and were not law-abiding citizens.
It is the second event nationally and comes after the first held in Canterbury last weekend when 378 people dropped off 542 firearms and 578 accessories and compensated gun owners $433,682 for handing in their weapons. It is estimated the buyback scheme will cost somewhere between $100 and $200 million all-up for the 258 events around New Zealand.
The Christchurch mosque terror attacks led to the reform of gun laws banning all semi-automatic and military-style weapons. The gun reform bill also enacted a ban on pump action shotguns with detachable and non-detachable magazines and parts that enable firearms to be converted into more powerful weapons.
Northland police Inspector Chris McLellan was really pleased with the great turnout and said there were another 20 events in the region over the next three months.
"A lot of people are sad to see their firearms go but all are in support of what we want to achieve and that's about keeping people safe and getting firearms such as these off the market and destroying them," McLellan said.
"We are aware there are illegal firearms out there in the community and as police we will take action to recover those firearms."
He said the firearms and accessories that were collected were to be destroyed, which was done nationally and was consistent throughout the country.
There were plenty of police officers present to welcome people at the Waipu event and there were also armed officers at the door going into the club.
The process was taking about 45 minutes per person.
First in the queue was Chris Dwyer who had his much-loved and favourite Browning BAR hunting rifle.
Dwyer, who had been shooting rabbits since he was 5 and is now 62, said he was reluctantly handing over the firearm but due to the law had to.
"It's all a bit sad and a bit disappointing ... this is all the result of a knee-jerk reaction.
"There was legislation changes before anyone really got to have a say.
"My main hope is they don't put in any more rules."
Keen hunter "Craig", who did not want to be identified, said he was not happy about handing over his Browning BAR rifle which had been in his family since 1990.
"This rifle has shot about 500 deer and not one person. It's all the honest people here handing in their firearms. What about those who have them illegally?
"It's not the gun that's dangerous it's the person holding the gun. If you are that sort of person you will do what ever it takes," he said.
Joel Read, of Ngunguru, handed over his AR15 firearm and was happy with the cash compensation.
"It's a pretty easy process and I'm very happy. Anything that makes it safer is a good thing."
Police will be at Maungaturoto Community Hall today starting at 3pm and running until 7pm.
McLellan said safety was crucial, so before coming to an event, owners must clear firearm/s of all ammunition and put them and any parts in a safe carry bag.
To speed up the process at events, owners need to complete the online form on the police website prior to coming to the event – including listing each firearm and or each individual parts that are being handed over.
For the online notification form go to www.police.govt.nz or call 0800 311 311
Please also bring the following with you:
• Your firearms licence (if applicable)
• Photo identification (drivers licence or passport)
• Your bank account number
• Your online notification reference number
• All your prohibited parts, cleared of all ammunition
• Any other non-prohibited firearm/s or parts you wish to hand-in to Police.
• A valuation if you believe your firearm fits the unique prohibited criteria
Northland dates and venues:
17 July Waipū Rugby Club, 5 St Marys Rd, 3 - 7pm
18 July Maungaturoto Community, Hall View St, 3 - 7pm
23 July Hikurangi Bowling Club, 11 Park Street, 3 - 7pm
24 July Barge Park, Maunu, 3 - 7pm
30 July Dargaville Rugby Club, Murdoch Street, 3 - 7pm
31 July Kerikeri Sports Complex, Corner Heritage Bypass and Waipapa Rd, 3 - 7pm
6 August Kaitaia RSA, 18 Matthews Ave, 3 - 7pm
7 August Houhora Big Game Fishing Club, 4126 Far North Road, Pukenui, 3 - 7pm
8 August Kaeo Rugby Club, 40 Whangaroa Rd, 3 - 7pm
15 August Onerahi Bowling Club, 35 Alamein Ave, 3 - 7pm
16 August Bledisloe Domain, Haruru Falls Rd, Paihia, 3 - 7pm
21 August Maungakaramea Mid-Western Rugby Club, 13 Tangihua Rd, 3 - 7pm
25 August Kaikohe Lindvart Park, Lindvart St, 11am - 3pm
28 August Waipū Rugby Club, 5 St Marys Rd, 3 - 7pm
4 September Whangārei Barge Park Barge Park, Maunu3 - 7pm
10 September Broadwood Community Hall, 3 - 7pm
11 September Kaitaia RSA, 18 Mathews Ave, 3 - 7pm
17 September Kerikeri Sports Complex, Corner Heritage Bypass and Waipapa Rd, 3 - 7pm
18 September Dargaville Rugby Club, Murdoch St, 3 - 7pm
24 September Hikurangi Bowling Club, 11 Park St, 3 - 7pm
29 September Kaikohe Lindvart Park, Lindvart St, 11am - 3pm