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New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Enacted After Mosque Killings

Citizens in New Zealand must turn in illegal weapons as the gun buyback program passed in the wake of the country’s shooting massacre takes effect.

Under the buyback program, which applies to licensed guns, New Zealanders will be compensated for up to 95 percent of the purchase value of surrendered weapons and must turn them in by Dec. 20th, according to Reuters.

The government said that more than 14,000 military-style semi-automatic weapons qualify for the program, which is estimated to cost New Zealand $136 million. Officials have said the amount may be increased if necessary.

“The buyback and amnesty has one objective — to remove the most dangerous weapons from circulation following the loss of life at Al Noor and Linwood mosques,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash.

New Zealand banned semi-automatic guns, as well as high-capacity magazines, shortly after the March 15 mosque shootings in Christchurch that killed 51 people.

In addition to the buyback program, the New Zealand government is also working on a bill to create a national gun registry. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters Monday that the plan would be announced later.

After the six-month gun buyback period, New Zealanders who continue to possess the banned weapons will be in violation of the law, which is punishable by five years in jail, according to The New York Times.

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