To help reduce the number of unwanted, unregistered, or illicit firearms in the community, Crime Stoppers WA is urging people living in Western Australia to take advantage of a national amnesty and surrender firearms and parts without fear of penalty.
To help spread the word, Crime Stoppers WA is partnering with WA Police to help promote the amnesty, answer questions from the community and explain how and where to safely dispose of a firearm.
Crime Stoppers WA CEO Dr Vince Hughes, said an estimated 250,000 long arm and 10,000 handguns were believed to be in Australia which are either unregistered or unable to be registered, as well as prohibited accessories such as silencers and ammunition.
“The focus of the national amnesty is to reduce the number of unwanted, unregistered and illicit firearms in the community by encouraging people to do their bit by handing in a firearm so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands and used to injure or kill someone,” Dr Hughes said.
Grey market firearms – those that should have already been handed in or registered – are not typically kept by people with any criminal intent, but the concern with these firearms is that they can end up in the hands of people who plan to use them for criminal purposes.
Assistant Commissioner Brad Royce said whether it’s an inherited family heirloom, an old gun left in the back of the shed, received from a friend or family, or a firearm legally registered but no longer needed – they all remain a potential risk to community safety.
“Our aim is to get as many firearms as possible off the streets”, he said.
Crime Stoppers conducted a national firearm amnesty in 2017 which resulted in 57,324 firearms being handed in along with 2,432 parts and accessories and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition.
During that campaign, several machine guns were handed in including a WWII Sten and a Russian-made submachine gun, as well as a flare gun converted to shoot 12-gauge ammunition, rocket launcher and an anti-tank bolt action rifle.
Being caught with an unregistered or illegal firearm outside amnesty conditions could result in a fine of up to $280,000, up to 14 years in jail, and a criminal record.
Further information about how and where to surrender firearms can be found here.