Gun owners returning their semi-automatic rifles after attack

Author
Vera Alves, NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Monday, 18 March 2019, 6:51PM

A number of gun owners have voluntarily given up their semi-automatic rifles in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack and the Government's announcement that it will ban these weapons.

Multiple people have taken to social media to post about giving up their guns.

John Hart, a farmer and Green Party member from the Wairarapa, says he took his semi-automatic rifle into the police station earlier today where he dropped it off "no questions asked".

Given the current climate and the presence of armed forces outside the police station, Hart said he went in first to check on the process and then returned with his rifle. "I didn't want to just rock up with a rifle," he told the Herald.

He said the process is very straightforward. "I literally just signed a form and handed it in".

He was assured that the rifle will be destroyed, in a "very strictly controlled" process.

John Hart today handed in his semi-automatic rifle to police. Photo / Twitter
John Hart today handed in his semi-automatic rifle to police. Photo / Twitter

He took to Twitter to urge other semi-automatic rifle owners to do the same.

"Until today I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semi-automatic rifle. On the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn't outweigh the risk of misuse," he posted.

"We don't need these in our country. We have make sure it's #NeverAgain."

Hart says he owned the rifle to conduct pest control on his farm but says the same job can be done in other ways.

"Once you accept that these things can be harmful, in the wrong hands, the trade-off is a small inconvenience," he said.

"It's not a big deal not having it anymore. I couldn't, in good conscience, say they shouldn't be around if I still had one."

Hart is not the only Kiwi who has decided to give up his semi-automatic rifle this week.

"When my husband died his guns were handed to family holding the requisite license. Daughter of crack shot food hunting parents, I have used guns from the age of 9," Fay Hag posted on Twitter earlier today.

"Today I requested that those guns be handed in for destruction."

A Hawke's Bay woman who gave up her gun more than 10 years ago has also spoken to the media about how she feels about her decision, in light of the terror attack in Christchurch.

Brena Smith says she used to own a .22 calibre semi-automatic which she used for pest control, mainly shooting rabbits and possums.

She said it would be fabulous if people decided to give up their guns in wake of Friday's events and added that she sees no benefit to owning military style, semi-automatics, as the only thing they are useful for is shooting people.

"I think it's just time for a big change in New Zealand," she told the Hawke's Bay Today.

Trade Me has stopped selling semi-automatic weapons immediately in the wake of the Christchurch mass shootings.

The online auction site has pulled all listings ahead of Government's pending announcement on what it plans to do with gun rights.

 

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