Kiwis are voluntarily returning their semiautomatic rifles.
Kiwis are voluntarily returning their semiautomatic rifles.

Kiwis voluntarily hand over guns

A number of gun owners have voluntarily given up their semiautomatic rifles in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack and the New Zealand 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 semiautomatic rifle into the police station today where he dropped it off "no questions asked".


John Hart today handed in his semiautomatic rifle to police.
John Hart today handed in his semiautomatic rifle to police.

Given the 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 New Zealand Herald.

He said the process was straightforward.

"I literally just signed a form and handed it in," he said.

He was assured the rifle would be destroyed in a "very strictly controlled" process.

He took to Twitter to urge other semiautomatic rifle owners to do the same.

"Until today I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semiautomatic 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 said he used the rifle for pest control on his farm but said the same job could be done other ways.


The guns in the back of the Brenton Tarrant’s car.
The guns in the back of the Brenton Tarrant’s car.

"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 semiautomatic rifle this week.

"When my husband died his guns were handed to family holding the requisite licence. Daughter of crack shot food hunting parents, I have used guns from the age of 9," Fey 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 semiautomatic, 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 saw no benefit to owning military style, semiautomatics, as the only thing they were useful for was shooting people.

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

Online auction site Trade Me has stopped selling semiautomatic weapons in the wake of the Christchurch mass shootings.

It has pulled all listings ahead of government's pending announcement on what it plans to do with gun rights.

This article originally appeared on the NZ Herald and has been reproduced with permission.