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‘All we want is guns off the street’

More than 150 illegal firearms, including several military style semi-automatics, were handed in during the five-hour Gisborne amnesty collection yesterday afternoon at the Gisborne Cosmopolitan Club.

Armed police were on duty during the event, which was off limits to anyone, including the media, unless they were surrendering a firearm.

It followed on from the first Tairawhiti collection event in Nuhaka on Thursday where 19 unlawful guns were surrendered in the police “buy back” project.

“We’re very happy with what was a good response in Gisborne,” said acting Senior Sergeant Cory Ubels.

Illegal shotguns, .22 calibre rifles and some prohibited 223 calibre semi-automatic rifles were surrendered yesterday.

“We also had several military style semi-automatic rifles surrendered to us.”

Acting Snr Sgt Ubels stressed that the collection was an amnesty.

“Those people who do not have a firearms licence are able to hand their firearms in without any questions being asked, and that also applies to any stolen firearms.

“All that people with stolen firearms need to do is bring them in, drop them on the table, and walk away, no questions asked.

“All we want to do is get those guns off the street,” he said.

The collection continued today in the Uawa Sports Club in Tolaga Bay between 10am and 1.30pm, and tomorrow the police collection team will be in Ruatoria at the RSA, again from 10am to 1.30pm.

Sen Sgt Ubels said they were not expecting the collections at Tolaga Bay and in Ruatoria to be as busy as the Gisborne event.

“But the more firearms we can collect the better.

“We had more than 100 people come through the Gisborne collection venue, and 154 firearms in total were surrendered.”

POLICE HAPPY: The firearms amnesty collection went well in Gisborne yesterday at the Cosmopolitan Club, with more than 150 illegal guns surrendered to police in the ‘buy back’ project. Today the collection moved to Tolaga Bay and tomorrow the team, led by Acting Senior Sergeant Cory Ubels (pictured) go to Ruatoria. Picture by Liam Clayton