Ministers back nationwide gun amnesty
GUN owners will be able to hand in their weapons — no questions asked — from next year when Australia launches a national continuous gun amnesty.
All states and territories yesterday agreed to the firstever continuous nationwide amnesty at a meeting of police and emergency services ministers in Adelaide.
More than 57,000 weapons — including automatic rifles, handguns and a rocket launcher — were handed in when Australia held just a threemonth amnesty in 2017, the first since immediately after the Port Arthur massacre.
Federal Assistant Minister for Community Safety Jason Wood said a continuous gun amnesty would get more weapons off the streets.
“It’s very important to keep firearms out of the family home if they’re not used anymore, and to keep them out of the hands of criminals,” he said.
It’s anticipated the initiative will be launched in the second half of 2020, but details of how it will work are still to be confirmed.
It comes after Mr Wood announced at the weekend Australia would ban the import of bump stock devices, which can turn a semiautomatic weapon into a fully automatic weapon.
Tasmania already has a permanent gun amnesty, which means any unregistered or unwanted firearms can be surrendered to police or firearms dealers without the owners facing penalties for possession.
Hobart-based Gun Control Australia vice president Roland Browne said reforms to gun storage and licencing laws needed to be made, along with the nationwide amnesty.
“An amnesty is an acceptable policy response to remove unwanted guns out of the community, but it’s no substitute for strong gun control policy,” he said.
Tougher storage laws were needed to stop gun theft, while licencing changes were needed to stop individuals being able to store large numbers of guns in urban homes. He knew of individuals that had more than 100 guns stored at home.