23 July, 2021
Gun amnesty now in place
All Australian federal, state and territory governments have agreed to a permanent national firearms amnesty, commencing July 1.
Despite having some of the strongest gun control laws in the world, the amnesty has been announced to reduce the number of unregistered firearms across the country. The amnesty allows holders of unregistered and unwanted firearms to hand them in to police stations and participating firearms dealers with no questions and no penalties.
“People who have firearms that they’re not supposed to have, they can come in and surrender them, or if they want to get them registered, they can take it to their local firearms dealer and get it registered without prosecution essentially,” said Sergeant Nick Campbell of Gilgandra police station.
“The other thing is, if police are driving and come across a firearm in some circumstance, you can’t then go ‘oh yeh I was on my way to hand it in.’ It needs to be an organised thing where they ring up, contact us and set a time.”
NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said the amnesty sends a clear message that community safety is paramount.
“This new permanent amnesty will allow community members to surrender for destruction unwanted or unregistered firearms and ammunition cost free,” said Mr Elliott.
The amnesty coincides with the launch of Gun Safe, a new online portal for managing firearm transactions in NSW.
“Gun safe, the new online portal will ensure that all firearms transactions are accounted for, giving the community peace of mind that police can access real time information when it comes to guns to help prevent crime and keep our communities safe,” said Mr Elliott.
Crime Stoppers NSW CEO, Peter Price, said the amnesty will help to keep the community safe and provide confidence that unlawful firearms are not in the community.
“These initiatives are moving towards a more community centric approach to firearms and safety. Previously, firearms amnesties had a definitive time frame, but we understand that some members of the community might change their minds about handing in illegal firearms, so we want to give them the opportunity to do so anytime, anywhere.”
Possessing an unregistered firearm is an offence in Australia, and individuals can be charged if they do not surrender it.
The last national firearms amnesty was held in 2017, and more than 57,000 firearms were handed in across Australia.
People wishing to surrender firearms in NSW are required to book the drop off with their local police station or participating firearms dealer.