New Zealand has held its first gun buyback session following the tightening of gun laws earlier this year.

The changes followed the killings of 51 people at two mosques in the South Island city of Christchurch in March.

Just a few days after that attack, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern vowed that the country’s gun laws would change.

The buyback event in Christchurch on Saturday was the first of 258 across the country over the next three months, although gun owners can also hand their weapons in at any police station.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media during her post cabinet press conference at Parliament in Wellington on March 25, 2019
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After the shootings, Jacinda Ardern vowed the country’s gun laws would change

Police said they were “really pleased” with the number of people who had attended, adding that, by early afternoon they had processed 68 firearms owners who had handed in 97 firearms and 94 parts and accessories.

The amount firearms owners will be given – which they will receive in the next 10 days – was $204,721 (£109,020), according to Acting Canterbury District Commander Mike Johnson.

“Police recognise that this is a big change for the law abiding firearms community and we are hearing really positive feedback from people as they come through today that they are finding the process works well for them,” he said.

A woman views flowers and tributes by the wall of the botanic gardens on March 24, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand
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51 people were killed at two mosques in Christchurch in March

But TV New Zealand reported that some gun owners had stayed away from the buy back event.

Bill O’Leary, of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association, told the broadcaster: “The majority of firearm owners do not believe that this is a fair process, that in the first instance they are being blamed and penalised for something they had no control over.”

Some gun owners are unhappy with the price they have been offered for their guns.

According to Radio NZ, the scheme gives owners 70% of the base price for a new or used gun, and 25% of the base price for one in poor condition.

According to the Small Arms Survey 2018, there are 26 civilian firearms in circulation per 100 people in New Zealand, compared to 4.6 in England and Wales – putting it 17th in the list of countries with the highest per capita rates.

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