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New Zealand gun owners begin voluntarily surrendering their weapons to authorities in wake of Christchurch massacre

Con Chronis/AFP/Getty Images

Many New Zealand gun owners have voluntarily surrendered their semi-automatic rifles to police following Friday's terror attack at two mosques in Christchurch, Newsweek reported.

Some have taken to social media to encourage others to follow their move.

"Until today, I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semi-automatic rifle," farmer John Hart tweeted. "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 also attached to his tweet a photo of the arms surrender form that called for the destruction of his rifle, magazine, and a box of ammunition.

In Friday's attack, 50 Muslim worshippers were killed at two mosques and dozens of others injured by a lone killer during the country's first mass murder in nearly three decades.

What did the prime minister say?

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who pledged to introduce new gun reforms within 10 days of the killings, said on Monday that new gun laws would soon be announced, Reuters reported.

"The clear lesson from history around the world is that to make our community safer, the time to act is now," she told reporters during a news conference.

Ardern didn't reveal details about the upcoming gun reform laws but has stated support for a ban on semi-automatic rifles.

She also reportedly encouraged gun owners to surrender their firearms.

What else did gun owners say on Twitter?

A gun owner, whose Twitter name is Blackstone, shared a similar sentiment, along with a copy of his gun surrender form.

"Since I first heard about the atrocity on Friday afternoon, I have reflected and reserved my thoughts," Blackstone wrote. "Monday morning — this is one of the easiest decisions I have ever made."

Hart described walking into the police station with his gun as "a puckering experience."

"So, walking up the long courtyard to the Masterton police station, toward a stone-faced policewoman guarding the door holding an AR 15 at the ready, while I'm carrying a rifle (in its case) was, let's say, a puckering experience," he wrote.

In another post, Hart wrote that it's better to give up his firearms than to risk someone using his gun for harm.

After sharing his post about giving up his guns, Hart said he's received a number of supportive messages, along with some negative ones.

"I'm a bit overwhelmed by the positive responses, and the negatives have been few (and mostly blocked). The devil doesn't need any more advocates," he wrote.

The gun store owner, David Tipple, who said the 28-year-old shooting suspect had legally purchased four guns and ammunition from his shop online, told reporters on Monday at a news conference that he would support stricter gun laws.

"I and Gun City fully support [Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's] swift and decisive actions following this tragedy," Tipple said, according to Newsweek. "We'll be cooperating with police and the government to ensure that any review and changes to legislation prevent a reoccurrence."

The firearms purchased by the suspect from Gun City were not the same weapons used in the deadly massacre.

What else?

The suspected killer has been charged with murder and could face additional charges. He is expected to appear in court April 5.

One last thing...
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