New Zealand's first buyback event since Christchurch collects 224 guns

July 13 (UPI) — Police in New Zealand said 224 banned firearms were turned over in the country’s first buyback event since a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

New Zealand Police said the buyback event at Riccarton Racecourse in Christchurch saw 224 prohibited guns turned over by residents Saturday.

Police said 217 firearms parts and accessories were also turned in during the event. About $290,350 total was dolled out to the firearms owners.

The buyback event, which continues Sunday, is the first of 258 planned buyback events planned across the country following the March 15 mass shooting.

Investigators said Brenton Tarrant, 28, an Australian citizen, used military-grade weapons to open fire on worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 people and injuring dozens of others. He has pleaded not guilty to 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

Lawmakers passed sweeping legislation in April, banning private ownership of military-style assault weapons.

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