FILE - People bring their guns to exchange for money in Christchurch, New Zealand, July 13, 2019.
FILE - People bring their guns to exchange for money in Christchurch, New Zealand, July 13, 2019.

Gun owners in New Zealand turned in more than 10,000 firearms in a buyback program established after the country's worst mass shooting in modern history.

New Zealand banned most automatic and semi-automatic weapons after a gunman shot and killed 51 people and wounded scores more at two Christchurch mosques in March.

As of Sunday, 10,242 firearms had been surrendered since the program began last month. Another 1,269 have been handed in under an amnesty program that allows people to turn in their guns without any questions about how or when they obtained them, New Zealand police said Monday.

The buyback program will continue until Dec. 20. 

New Zealand lawmakers vowed to toughen the country's gun laws after the shootings.

"On March 15, the nation witnessed a terrorist attack that demonstrated the weakness of New Zealand's gun laws," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at the time. "The guns used in this attack had the power to shoot continuously. The times for the easy availability of these weapons must end. And today, they will."

A bill to ban semi-automatic weapons was introduced in parliament two weeks after the shooting. 

Australia also introduced a nationwide gun buyback program after a shooter killed 36 people in 1996. About 650,000 weapons were collected. It also banned semi-automatic and pump-action rifles and shotguns.

Since then, research has shown, Australia has had no mass shootings, and homicides and suicides by gun have both reduced dramatically.