Just over a month since Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced a three month amnesty on firearms, farmers are being urged to check their properties for unregistered or illegal firearms or weaponry to hand in to their nearest police station or licensed gun dealer.
The amnesty that began 1 July and will end September 30 hopes to reduce the number of unregistered and unwanted guns on the streets amid concerns over gun violence and illegal imports.
Federal member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie said in Australia all firearms must be registered.
“The national amnesty is an opportunity for any person who has an unregistered or unwanted firearm, such as a family heirloom, to get rid of it without fear of being prosecuted,” Dr Gillespie said.
“People who participate in the amnesty will be helping to keep the community safe by ensuring unregistered firearms do not fall into the wrong hands.”
Acting WA Police commissioner Gary Dreibergs said the state was putting out the welcome mat.
“Bring us your unlicensed firearms and ammunition without fear of prosecution,” Dreibergs said.
“Where suitable, the person surrendering the firearm may have an opportunity to have it licensed or to sell it, otherwise it will be destroyed,” he said.
A similar campaign was conducted in WA in 2013, where 1281 guns were surrendered.
Minister Keenan said there is no cost involved with handing in firearms or related items for destruction during the amnesty, and no personal details are required.
“Outside of the amnesty period, anyone caught with an unregistered firearm could face a fine of up to $280,000, up to 14 years in jail, and a criminal record,” Mr Keenan said.
“I encourage Australians to take this opportunity to help remove unregistered firearms from the community.”
This is the first nation-wide gun amnesty since 1996, when the Howard Government took decisive action following the devastation of the Port Arthur Massacre.