With gun buyback period in final days, Police Minister rejects lobbyist's suggestion it failed

Source: 1News

This Friday marks the end of the gun amnesty and buyback scheme that the Government swiftly instituted after the March 15 mosque shootings in Christchurch, with new laws banning many previously legal firearms.

However, according to gun lobby group the Council Of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFOs), which has consistently been critical of the Government's approach to the issue, there'll be tens of thousands of now-illegal guns still in circulation in this country after the deadline has been and gone.

COLFO's Nicole McKee says the buyback has been plagued by last-minute changes.

"You've got a really low turnout rate because a lot of people just don't understand this is not just about semi-automatic firearms," she told Breakfast this morning.

"This 28 per cent hand-in is a failure. It doesn't have to be that way.

"If there's an extension given, and an education package put around it so people know how to comply and what they have to comply with, there will be a better hand-in rate."

However Police Minister Stuart Nash rejected that call.

"I don't buy into that," he later told Breakfast in a separate interview. "There's been 580 collection events, there's 60 in the last week alone, there's 52,000 guns that have been taken out of our community… I think our community is safer for it.

"I think we've been very clear that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are good, law-abiding citizens - they've done the right thing.

"I think we've got the vast majority of these guns in."

Mr Nash reiterated anyone who retains their now-illegal gun after December 20 faces up to five years in jail.