The police have seized more than 500 firearms during law enforcement incidents since the March 15 terror attack in Christchurch.

This is on top of the 500 guns that have been handed back to police since the Government declared an amnesty a week after the attack.

A further 4128 unlawful firearms have been declared for surrender via the online form but are being stored by firearms owners in the interim.

On March 21, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on Military style semi-automatics and assault rifles.

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The ban officially came into force on April 10 after the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament.

But the Government allowed for a six-month gun amnesty, meaning people who had these types of firearms have until September to hand them over to police.

So far, almost 525 unlawful firearms have been handed to police.

The total number of firearms in New Zealand is estimated to be 1.2-1.5 million, according to the Government.

One of the guns Police brought to a select committee to demonstrate the types of weapons and magazines that will be banned under the new guns legislation. Photo / Jason Walls
One of the guns Police brought to a select committee to demonstrate the types of weapons and magazines that will be banned under the new guns legislation. Photo / Jason Walls

Police Minister Stuart Nash said that 500 firearms had been seized during law enforcement incidents, including police responding to family harm callouts and finding firearms in the home.

Weapons have also been confiscated during vehicle stops during high-profile or significant offending and during raids on organised crime and gang figures.

Sonny Fatu, president of the Waikato branch of the Mongrel Mob, said in late March that, while some members of the gang may have illegal guns, they will not be handing them in as they are necessary to their protection.

"Will gangs get rid of their weapons? No. Because of who we are, we can't guarantee our own safety," he told Stuff.

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But this did not sit well with Nash who said: "they [gangs] are going to hand the guns back and if they don't do it voluntarily, then the police are going to come after them."

The figures, provided by Nash, also showed that police have made 202 visits to gun clubs to talk to the firearms community about the changes since March 15.

"The vast majority of gun owners are law-abiding and police are keen to work alongside them to educate and inform the wider community about the changes," Nash said.

Information received by The Herald under the OIA showed between March 21 and May 2, police received 404 surrendered firearms, an average of about nine firearms per day on the days when any firearms were surrendered.

Almost $170 million was set aside by the Government in Thursday's Budget for the gun buyback scheme – $150 million to support the now illegal items being bought by the Government and $18 million for administration.