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Government Takes Aim At Illegal Firearms With First Gun Amnesty In 20 Years

No questions asked

Government Takes Aim At Illegal Firearms With First Gun Amnesty In 20 Years

Pic: Getty Images

The first national gun amnesty since the Port Arthur massacre will be launched by the Federal government today. 

The announcement by Justice Minister Michael Keenan comes with the increasing risk of terrorism across the world, and follows the death of Queensland Police officer Senior Constable Brett Forte.  

"The fact (is) we've got a deteriorating national security environment," Keenan told the ABC. 

"We've got an environment where there has been five terrorists attacks on our soil and sadly in the vast majority of those cases it has been an illegal firearm that's been used."

"The danger there is that there might be a circumstance where the wrong person - a criminal, a terrorist - might get their hands on those guns," he said.

“This is the first nationwide gun amnesty since 1996, when the Howard government took decisive action following the devastation of the Port Arthur massacre,” 

That amnesty and buyback saw more than 660,000 weapons handed in across the country. 

So, how will it work?

From July 1 until September 30, Australians will have the option to surrender illegal firearms on a no questions asked basis. 

The first port of call will be ONLINE where people can find their closest drop-off point, which will likely be a local police station or registered firearm dealer. 

Then, people are told to call the station and advise them the weapon will be handed over. Gun owners won't be paid, but there'll be no need for police to take any of their personal details. 

The government estimates there are 260,000 illegal firearms on Aussie streets. 

Keenan has reminded anyone in possession of a firearm that being caught outside the amnesty period with a gun could lead to 14 years in prison, and fines of up to $280,000. 

On that note, WILL it work?!

The President of Queensland's Police Union, and good mate of Senior Constable Forte, Ian Leavers has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the plan. 

"This is a great idea but I think it would be good to go further with a buyback scheme to encourage people to bring them in"

"The concern we have is those hardened criminals, I would be surprised if they would turn up to a police station with their semi automatic or automatic firearms, but this is a step in the right direction" 

Want more info?

Information about individual state and territory requirements, including how and where to surrender firearms, can be found online at ­HERE or by phoning 1800 909 826.