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New Zealand gun owners hand over firearms at first buyback event

WELLINGTON, July 13 (Xinhua) — New Zealand gun owners were compensated more than 433,682 New Zealand dollars (290,346 U.S. dollars) on Saturday after they handed in their weapons, which have been made illegal following the March 15 Christchurch mosque shootings.

Saturday’s gun buyback event in Christchurch was the first of the 258 buyback collections organized by New Zealand government across the country this year.

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Military style, semi-automatic weapons became illegal in the country’s gun law, which was amended shortly after Christchurch mosque attacks that killed 51 people.

A high security presence was seen at the event as gun owners, accompanied by their families, handed over their semi-automatic weapons.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the first firearms collection event saw a busy turnout, with 169 firearms owners having handed in 224 prohibited firearms, as well as 217 prohibited parts and accessories.

The buyback scheme gives owners 70 percent of the base price for new or used guns, and 25 percent of the base price for guns with poor condition.

The government has put aside more than 200 million New Zealand dollars (133.90 million U.S. dollars) for payments and administration of the gun buyback and amnesty.

The buyback event will continue on Sunday at the same venue.

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