New Zealand collects about 56,000 guns in buyback program after Christchurch massacre

Some of the firearms that have been turned over as part of the firearms buyback program in New Zealand.

(CNN)New Zealand officials collected about 56,000 firearms as part of a sixth-month gun buyback program that ended Friday, according to a news release from the country's Minister of Police.

The New Zealand government instituted the program after 51 people were fatally shot at two Islamic houses of worship in March. The man accused in the shooting, Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant, 28, has pleaded not guilty to 92 charges, including 51 counts of murder.
New Zealand's parliament voted almost unanimously in April in favor of changing the country's gun laws and banning all military-style semi-automatic weapons.
    "When we started the buyback and amnesty we had one objective, to make our country a safer place," said Stuart Nash, minister of police for New Zealand. "We focused on the type of assault rifles, high-capacity firearms and military style semi-automatics used in the terror attack 40 weeks ago, on 15 March.
    "We are now moving to the next phase, to ensure firearms cannot fall into the wrong hands. This is the objective of the proposed gun register and tighter licensing system. We are not done with efforts to remove unlawful firearms from circulation."
    Man accused of killing 51 in Christchurch mosque attacks pleads not guilty