This weekend’s gun buyback is being held at Masterton Smallbore Rifle Club. PHOTO/ELI HILL

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

Wairarapa’s last scheduled gun buyback is on this weekend and police are encouraging gunowners to hand in their firearms before the buyback scheme ends.

A collection event will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Masterton Smallbore Rifle Club.

At two earlier collection events – the first, in Featherston’s Anzac Hall, 166 guns were handed in, while the second held at the Smallbore Rifle Club had 165 guns handed in.

It was a pleasing response from the Wairarapa firearms community to the collection events, Police Wellington District Operations Manager, Terry van Dillen said.

“Firearms holders have been positive about the collection events, with no issues being reported. Most are pleased with the compensation they receive.

“Police are looking forward to a good turnout from the firearms community.”

Van Dillen said the amnesty and buy-back scheme ends on December 20 this year.

“Police encourage Wairarapa firearms holders not to leave it to the last moment and to hand-in their prohibited firearms and parts at the collection events in Masterton this weekend. If they cannot make these dates, further collection events will be available on police’s website soon.”

There are estimated to be about 14,000 people licensed to hold semi-automatics in New Zealand, with the government allocating $208 million for the buyback.

However, with no formal registry of individual weapons, Treasury has warned the exact figures will be hard to predict and opponents of the gun law changes have suggested the total cost could be significantly higher.

Before going to a collection event, people are asked to go to the police website and complete the online notification form to help speed up the process.

Police say gun owners should clear guns of all ammunition and place the firearms and parts in a safe carry bag, such as a firearms bag, or a “non-descript” cover.

Gun owners are asked to bring their firearms licences, photo identification, bank account number, and a reference number for their online notification form to the collection points.

Owners of unique or rare prohibited guns are also asked to bring in a valuation.

Only people with a valid firearms licence are able to receive compensation for their guns. However, those handing in gun parts and accessories included in the prohibited list don’t need a firearms licence to receive compensation.

An additional 62 firearms have been added to the buy-back price list since its announcement in June, bringing the total to 415 firearms now eligible for compensation. There are now also 47 parts, due to the addition of two magazines.

For more information, visit www.police.govt.nz or call 0800 311 311.

Gun buyback collection event, Saturday and Sunday, Masterton Smallbore Rifle Club, 14 Cole St, 10am-1pm both days.