Gun buy-back events loom

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    FOLLOWING the announcement of seven gun buy-back events in September, reactions seemed to have “sailed quite quietly” in Southland, a gun retailer says.

    Last month New Zealand Police announced more than 190 drop-off events across the country following the newly amended firearm legislation.

    Events were announced for Southland from September 7-22, with more to come over the next three months.

    Outdoor World Gun City chief executive John Green said he had not experienced any “push-back” from Southland gun owners following the announcement.

    “The general tenor and tone has just been to get on with it. I haven’t heard any complaints from customers and there’s been a measured reaction, by and large.”

    “The Canterbury buy-back event last week was a feeling-out for gun owners. I think it did demonstrate that their capacity to deal with these events is quite good really.”

    However, he did acknowledge it was hard to tell whether or not the amount of firearms handed in so far was a success.

    “I think what we’re anticipating is when it becomes more clearer about what stores have been approved to be depots, that’s when we’ll really find out what the volume is.”

    The Invercargill store submitted an application to be a registered drop-off depot for those who had registered their prohibited firearms online, and expected to be approved, he said.

    “The store is more than big enough and we have the security measures all there already. We’ve only been here for five years so it’s structured for those processes.”

    The hope was that gun owners would be willing to hand in their firearms to retailers they had built a relationship with, he said.

    “Owners have an existing relationship with their retailers, we’ve been in the business for 40 years so we have repeat customers who we’ve built rapport with.”

    Federated Farmers rural security spokesman Miles Anderson said Federated Farmers thought the geographical spread of the locations was reasonable.

    “The jury’s out on how that’s interpreted by gun owners, things went really smoothly at the buy-back event in Christchurch and in general a lot of firearms pricing was reasonable.”

    However, he said the Government needed to “seriously consider” paying retail price for hand-ins if they wanted people to attend future events.

    Southern District firearms programme lead Senior Sergeant Greg Ballantyne said Southern District police were not aware of any complaints made following the event announcements for Southland.

    Police encouraged the public to phone 0800 311 311 if they had any concerns.

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