Gun collection today, but owner wary

A Dunedin man who owns several now-illegal firearms says he will not be attending the area's first collection event in Mosgiel today.

The man spoke on condition of anonymity and the Otago Daily Times was unable to find any gun owners who would be named yesterday.

Several feared their firearms could be targeted by thieves if they were identified, and none said they would be attending today's collection.

The man said he wanted to wait to see how today's collection for the buy-back and amnesty, at the Taieri Rugby Football Club in Reid Ave, Mosgiel between 10am and 2pm, went before deciding whether he would attend a later event to surrender his now-forbidden rifles.

The amnesty runs until December 20 and his preference would be to hand over his guns, which included several military-style semi-automatics, to police in a more private, low-key setting, he said.

The possibility of having a media presence at firearms-surrendering events also put him off.

While he was unhappy about the prospect of surrendering his firearms he would be abiding by the law, he said.

"I'd rather not have to, but it is what it is."

Today's event will be followed by two others in Dunedin tomorrow and on Sunday, both at the Kensington Army Hall, in Bridgman St, between 10am and 2pm.

The 24 collections in Otago and Southland will take place at locations ranging from rugby and yacht clubs to racing tracks. The last will take place on September 22, at the Marakura Yacht Club, in Te Anau.

The gun buyback will run until December 20, paying 95% of a base price for weapons in new or near-new condition, 70% for those in used condition and 25% for those in poor condition.

Collected firearms will be destroyed.

Southern District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham, of Dunedin, earlier said police want to ensure the changes made by the passing of the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Parts and Magazines) Amendment Act 2019 would be as easy to navigate as possible.

"Safety is crucial, so before coming to an event, owners must clear firearms of all ammunition and put them and any parts in a safe carry bag.

"To speed up the process at events, owners need to complete the online form on the Police website prior to coming to the event, including listing each firearm and/or each individual part they are bringing along."

Those with more than 10 firearms, or whose firearm could be modified to make it non-prohibited, were asked not to come to a collection event.

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