EASTERN Bay police will be holding their first gun collection event in Ohope tomorrow.

Four more such collections will be held in the region between now and the end of the year – one in Opotiki, one in Kawerau and two more in Ohope – at which gun owners can hand over their weapons to police.

In March, the Government restricted ownership of semi-automatic weapons in response to the Christchurch mosque massacres and 258 collections events are being staged across the country.

At the first, held Christchurch last weekend, police collected more than 500 prohibited firearms and provided $1,022,599 in compensation to owners.

The Opotiki event will be held at the Waiotahe Settlers Hall from September 6 to 8.

Police preference is for firearm owners to hand their guns in at these events, but exemption-based pickups will be made by police if there are security concerns or transport constraints.

Police advise that people should go to the police website and complete the online notification form and record their online notification reference number to speed up the hand-in process.

All firearms must be cleared of ammunition and placed in a firearms bag or nondescript cover before they are brought to the events.

All gunowners are asked to bring photo identification, their bank account number, their firearms licence if they have one, their online identification number, their prohibited firearms and prohibited parts and any other firearms and parts they may wish to hand into police during the amnesty period.

Community constable Spike Dickie said the arms amnesty gave people the chance to dispose of firearms legally and with no repercussions.

“In the case of the arms amnesty, where you are just bringing in firearms to be surrendered without reparation, they need to make sure the guns are safe and can hand them in no questions asked. We’re not after your details in any way, shape or form,” said Mr Dickie.

“So, people can feel free to bring those in, no questions asked. I would say for some people they have had them there for quite some time, whether it has been a deceased estate and they are not sure what to do with them or they are worried because they don’t have a firearms licence and shouldn’t have had the firearm. This is a chance for them to hand them in.”

Eastern Bay gun collection events

  • July 19-21: Ohope Hall, Bluett Road, 9am to 1pm
  • August 23-24: Firmin Lodge, Kawerau, 9am to 1pm
  • September 6-8: Waiotahi Settlers Hall, Opotiki, 9am-noon
  • October 11-13: Ohope Hall, Bluett Road, 9am to 1pm
  • December 13-15: Ohope Hall, Bluett Road, 9am-1pm.