New Zealand shooting: Native farmer hands his semi-automatic weapon into police: ‘We don’t need these in our country’

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Tuesday 19 March 2019 11:45
Picture:(MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

A New Zealand farmer has voluntarily handed in his automatic firearm after the tragic killing of 50 people in two of the country’s mosques.

Following the news, prime minister Jacinda Ardern condemned it a “terror attack” and vowed to ban automatic weapons as soon as possible.

John Hart hadn’t needed a law change to hand in his weapon to the police to prevent it from being used to harm someone.

“I had had that gun since it was made," he told CNN. "I was glad it had never harmed a person. Now I can know that it never harmed a person, so I have some reassurance in that."

The 46-year-old has owned guns for over 20 years and lives on his 50-acre farm in Masterton.

He tweeted about his decision, and reasoned that he had to “make sure it’s #NeverAgain’” in reference to the shooting."

"Until today I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semi-automatic rifle," he wrote.

On the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse.

We don’t need these in our country.

We have to make sure it’s #NeverAgain.

Hart said he used the automatic weapon to kill goats and wild boars, and said the task of euthanising animals can be done without that particular weapon.

“To my mind, the tradeoff of having the convenience of that weapon versus having it misused, it just wasn't worth it. I think that we should not have these in our country in the wake of what happened,” he said. “It felt like the perfectly logical thing to do was to surrender mine.”

Twitter user Blackstone shared a redacted arms surrender sheet with their followers. They wrote:

Since I first heard about the atrocity on Friday afternoon I have reflected and reserved my thoughts.

Monday morning - this is one of the easiest decisions I have ever made.

Have owned a firearm for 31 years.

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