• Tony Bosworth

Show us your guns - residents encouraged to surrender or register weapons in firearms amnesty

NSW Police Force and Crime Stoppers are calling for residents to register or surrender illegal firearms and ammunition without being penalised for illegal possession, as part of the first ever permanent national amnesty.

Unfortunately, Hawkesbury residents keen to rid themselves of guns will need to wait a little while because under the Covid stay-at-home orders, handing in firearms does not meet the criteria of a ‘reasonable excuse’ to be out and about.

Police across the country, including the Hawkesbury, are giving residents a chance to surrender for destruction unwanted or unregistered firearms, parts, and ammunition at no cost and without penalty for illegal possession.

The amnesty coincides with the launch of Gun Safe – a new online portal for managing firearms transactions in NSW.

The platform is the first of its kind, replacing manual licence applications with real-time information and verification.

Some of the firearms handed in to Police in past amnesties

The portal will be linked to the sale of firearms in NSW, and disposal of firearms locally and interstate. The system notifies the registry of unusual or unverified transactions, which they believe will ultimately reduce risk of harm in the community.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the introduction of a permanent national amnesty sent a clear message that community safety was paramount.

“This new permanent amnesty will allow community members to surrender for destruction unwanted or unregistered firearms and ammunition cost free,” said Mr Elliott.

“Gun Safe will ensure all firearms transactions are accounted for, giving the community peace of mind that police can access real-time information when it comes to guns, to help prevent crime and keep our communities safe.”

Assistant Commissioner Scott Cook, the Police Prosecutions and Licensing Enforcement Commander, is encouraging gun owners to surrender or register their firearms.

“We encourage NSW residents to take advantage of the amnesty to surrender their firearms, gun parts and ammunition, without fear of being penalised for illegal possession.”

“Our focus, as always, is public safety. We want to reduce the number of illegal firearms in the community, so they don’t fall into the hands of criminals, who use unregistered firearms for intimidation and violence,” said Assistant Commissioner Cook.

Participating gun dealers can now accept and record unregistered firearms through the NSW Police Force’s Gun Safe platform. Dealers using the digital platform can register firearms, prohibited weapons, gun parts and ammunition under the amnesty.

“For firearm dealers, Gun Safe provides enhanced recording and reporting functions, and real-time information about firearms on the system,” said Assistant Commissioner Cook.

“The new amnesty enhances the services available to dealers on Gun Safe, including more transactions, beyond buying and selling of registered firearms.”

“For police, the system gives us more oversight, so we know when, where and how amnesty guns are being handed in.”

More information about the amnesty and surrendering, registering or selling unwanted firearms is available from crimestoppers.com.au/firearmsamnesty

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