(HorizonPost.com) – Last weekend, a man in Aukland, New Zealand, was in court facing multiple charges for the unlawful possession of firearms and magazines, despite the country’s sweeping nationwide ban on semi-automatic weapons, 1 News in New Zealand reported.
The man, whose name is withheld until his court appearance in April, pleaded not guilty to 29 charges that, in addition to charges related to the 2019 Arms Act, also included charges related to the supply of cannabis.
According to police from the Waitākere District of Aukland, the man did have a firearms license at the time of his arrest. However, many of the guns found in his possession were illegal.
In December 2019, a nationwide ban on most semi-automatic weapons took effect in New Zealand after a monthslong gun amnesty and buyback program, initiated following the Christchurch mass shooting, came to an end.
Just days after the Christchurch attack, then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a temporary ban on semi-automatic weapons. Several weeks later, New Zealand’s Parliament overwhelmingly passed legislation to make the ban permanent, with all but one of the 120 members voting in favor of the bill.
Under the 2019 law, military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles were outlawed, along with some gun parts. Those violating the law face up to five years in prison.
Despite the gun ban, the suspect from Aukland had a total of 35 firearms, many of which are illegal under the law, and over 15,000 rounds of ammunition.
Detective Senior Sgt. Mike Williams told reporters that the Aukland Police remain committed to holding anyone who violates the Arms Act accountable.
New Zealand began a gun buyback program in July 2019 to give gun owners a chance to turn in their weapons before the ban took effect to avoid facing criminal charges.
The Minister of Police announced in late December 2019 that 32,000 individuals turned in weapons during the buyback program, and over 56,000 soon-to-be-banned firearms had been collected.
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