Cops call for mid-west to surrender firearms in national amnesty

Edward ScownMidwest Times
Acting Supt. Jon Munday exhibits firearms which have been surrendered to police
Camera IconActing Supt. Jon Munday exhibits firearms which have been surrendered to police Credit: Pictures: Edward Scown

There are about 250,000 unlicensed firearms in Australia, according to Crime Stoppers, and Geraldton police are urging people to respond to a national firearms amnesty.

“They are a scary thing to have in the house,” Mid West-Gascoyne Acting Supt Jon Munday said.

“People ... can hand these guns in without fear of any repercussions.”

In the past two months, West Australians have handed in 218 shotguns, 54 rifles and 16 handguns.

Police have also received a number of gel blasters, which were banned under the Weapons Act in early July. Supt Munday said these can be modified to fire projectiles, but the main concern police have was the realistic look of the toys.

“Someone with a gel blaster could get involved in an altercation with police, and without any prior knowledge, that could have quite devastating consequences,” he said.

Ammunition and manufacturing equipment is also on the radar, with police concerned that devices such as reloading presses could be used to manufacture ammunition by criminal groups.

“Anything that’s related to firearms, particularly firearms and ammunition, reloading equipment, hand it in,” Sen. Const. Greg Kingston said.

Unlike previous amnesty campaigns, this latest one has no defined end.

Crime Stoppers CEO Vince Hughes said the response from the public had been encouraging, but he acknowledged people could become complacent without a deadline.

“People are people, they will become complacent from time to time. That’s why we have these awareness campaigns,” Dr Hughes said. “The research has been very strong to say these interventions ... have had a massive reduction in accidental deaths, suicides, and shootings across Australia.”

If you intend to surrender a firearm, phone the police station first. Unload the gun, remove the firing mechanism if possible, and keep it in a bag or another covering.

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