After the mosque attacks in Christchurch where 50 people were murdered, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the government would move quickly to tighten existing gun laws.

Ahead of the new laws, Ardern urged gun owners to voluntarily surrender their firearms. As of March 20th, a whole 37 guns had been surrendered out of an estimated 1.2 million.

Buzzfeed reported:

A few New Zealand gun owners have begun voluntarily surrendering their firearms to local police in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings last week that left at least 50 people dead.

New Zealand police said that as of Tuesday night, 37 firearms had been surrendered to police nationwide. They did not provide a breakdown of how many people owned those guns, the types of firearms, or the districts where the guns were surrendered.

New Zealand has an estimated 1.2 million guns registered to civilians, according to the 2017 Small Arms Survey. That’s about 1 gun for every 4 people. In the US, it’s estimated there is more than one gun per person.

A day after the mass shooting at the two mosques in Christchurch, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that her government intends to change gun laws in the country, including a potential ban on the type of military-style semiautomatic weapons that were allegedly used by the suspect in the shootings.

Ardern also encouraged New Zealand’s gun owners to surrender their weapons.

“To make our community safer, the time to act is now,” Ardern said on Monday. “I want to remind people, you can surrender your gun to the police at any time. In fact I have seen reports that people are in fact already doing this. I applaud that effort, and if you are thinking about surrendering your weapon, I would encourage you to do so.”

Ardern acknowledged that tightening gun laws in the country where gun ownership is common in the rural and farming communities would create “a small degree of uncertainty among some gun owners who possess guns for legitimate reasons.”

She assured gun owners that the forthcoming gun law changes were not directed at them.


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