Deadline looms on gun amnesty

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

Police are encouraging gun holders to take advantage of the final days of the national gun amnesty by handing in their firearms with no questions asked.

With eight days remaining in the three-month amnesty, 44 firearms have been handed in to police stations across the Great Southern — 29 rifles, 10 shotguns and five handguns.

In the same time, 737 firearms have been relinquished across the State, with the majority being rifles, as well as 40,000 rounds of ammunition. Police Licensing Enforcement Inspector Jeff Andrijasevich said the results of the first national amnesty since 1996 had pleased police and guns could still be brought in with no questions asked or penalty incurred.

He said some historic weapons could find their way into museums or historical societies, while others would be destroyed.

“We advise people if they are going to bring in a firearm, just make sure it’s not loaded, magazine is out and they have broken the firearm or taken the bolt out and they just cover it in something when they walk in so they are not seen walking into the station with a firearm,” he said.

“The whole point of the amnesty was community safety and we know there have been some burglaries here, so if some of those firearms turned up, we would be really pleased.”

The last State amnesty in 2013 resulted in 1280 firearms and 80,000 rounds of ammunition being surrendered.

Great Southern police district Superintendent Dom Wood said once the amnesty finished on September 30, illegal possession of firearms would be enforced “robustly” by police. Supt Wood said the amnesty results had contributed to making the region safer.

“For me, that is 44 firearms in the right hands and not in the illicit firearms market,” he said.

“There is something like over a quarter of a million illicit firearms in the Australian market and we want to make sure they come into safe hands and not into that marketplace.

“Any opportunity we can have to work with the community to get those guns into a safer environment is very good for us.”

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