The guns not handed in real concern


July 27, 2019 - 49 views

A retired farmer says it breaks his heart to think about the now-banned weapons which will not be turned in at the numerous gun collection events being held across the country.

The Palmerston buy-back and amnesty event ran from 10am until 2pm yesterday at the Palmerston Sports Hall in Gilligan St.

Several police -at least one armed with an automatic weapon - kept watch outside.

Among the four people seen by the Otago Daily Times handing in their weapons over about 45 minutes was retired farmer Laurence McGuire, of Moeraki.

He brought along two weapons, and expressed his disappointment at having to dispose of them.

"I don't have a choice. I'm a law-abiding citizen and ... I have to do this.

"What breaks my heart is that they're not getting the bad guns.

"Back in the '90s you could buy AK47s on a category A licence for two or three hundred dollars brand new, and it came with a bayonet ... where are they now?

"They ain't going to get those. That's the sad thing about it."

An East Otago farmer, who did not want to be named, handed in three of his weapons.

He said the process took about 20 minutes in total, and was handled well by police.

"It's the law and you have got to do it.

`It's part of your firearms licence, so you've got to work under the rules."

He was pleased to have received 70% of the gun's combined base price.

"It's good. It is what it is. One I have had for 16 years so it's hard to say goodbye to."

He said it appeared the weapons "got crushed out the back" and what remained would be "sent to Christchurch" for disposal.

Like Mr McGuire, he was concerned about what would become of weapons not handed in.

He said there was a level of acceptance among gun owners in the area, but believed some people, not necessarily in East Otago, would go to great lengths to avoid the buy-back events.

"They think the gangs and the dishonest ones are just going to bury them."

A police spokeswoman said a provisional count showed 34 firearms and 84 gun parts were handed in at Palmerston.

The national amnesty runs until December 20.

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