Following the March 15 shootings in Christchurch, in which 51 people were gunned down at two mosques during Friday prayers, the government amended gun laws, banning military-style semi-automatic and automatic weapons.
Gun control advocates say the plan has been successful despite the opposition of some firearms owners, whom they accuse of adopting hardline tactics similar to the US National Association of Rifles (NRA). UU.
More than 2,710 firearms had also been modified to make them lawful, Clement told CBC News in a statement. But gun owners will still be able to voluntarily surrender firearms, with the police retaining discretion of whether to prosecute on a case-by-case basis, Mr. Nash's statement said.
"As of midnight, 20 December 2019, 56,240 firearms and 194, 245 parts have been handed in", said deputy police commissioner, Mike Clement.
Around 40 gun owners were waiting for the New Zealand Prime Minister outside of Grey Lynn Primary School in Auckland, NZ, to protest against the gun buyback database breach.
"The high-handed attitude of the Police hierarchy has led to the nearly complete failure by Police at a frontline level to convince firearm owners to hand in their firearms".
As expected, police experienced a surge of people in the last few days of the buy-back with more than 4154 hand-ins occurring in the last week.
It was put in place to allow people to hand in guns that had become illegal under new legislation, prompted by the Christchurch mosque shootings. The Associated Press reports that critics said the process was flawed and some owners would illegally hide their firearms despite the ban, which applied to most types of semi-automatic weapons.
Their response has been excellent and reinforces what we said from the beginning: "the vast majority of firearms owners are law abiding people".
More than 1000 guns were given up at the Papakura Police Station during the last week of the buy-back.
The gun buyback was unprecedented and had been a huge logistical exercise for police who held 685 collection events around the country.
Both Nash and Clement said the country was now safer than it had been before the March attacks.
"We have taken well over 50,000 of these guns out of our community", he said, adding: "That's got to be a good thing".
Clement said police had been very clear about the repercussions to those who did not hand in firearms.
"No one pretended police would immediately find every one of these guns", he said.
More than 55,000 firearms and close to 200,000 firearms parts have been handed in during the Government's gun buyback amnesty.