Auckland gun owner 'disappointed' after being turned away from buy-back event by police

By 1 NEWS' Emily Heyward

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A total of 1055 prohibited firearms were handed in at events across the country. Source: 1 NEWS

An Auckland gun owner with a now-illegal firearm was turned away by police at a buy-back event on Sunday.

The man, who didn’t want to be named, went along to Auckland’s first firearms collection event at the weekend, only to be told by police he couldn’t be processed because it was too busy.

"I couldn’t believe it," he said.

"I was there to hand in my firearm. I was disappointed."

He said it looked "quiet" when he arrived at Mt Smart Stadium at about 1pm, but was told by an officer that there was a long queue inside and that he would need to find an upcoming collection event to go to instead.

"I was surprised. I didn’t even have the chance to get out of the car," he said.

He said there was a long line of people in vehicles behind him who were also told they would need to find an alternative.

Frustrated, he said he’d been preparing to hand over his illegal firearm and that Mt Smart Stadium was the most accessible location.

"I’m really disappointed with police about the way they handled it. They should have been more prepared."

Auckland City District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus said police at the event "worked extremely hard" to process the firearms owners as quickly as possible.

She said a decision was made to turn people away at about 1:30pm due to the large number of people waiting to be processed.

"We did not want to send anyone, who had already commenced the process home without having completed their firearm hand in. The last firearms owner to be processed left the event at 4.20pm," she said.

Superintendent Malthus said police will be carrying out a review into the way the events are operating and look at ways to improve processes at future collection events.

Seven collection events were held around the country over the weekend, with more than $3.5 million being paid out.

In Auckland, 240 firearms owners were processed at the buy-back event on Sunday, with 405 prohibited firearms and more than 1300 parts and accessories handed in to police

The next Auckland event is at Mt Smart from 9am to 2pm on Sunday.