Around 800 firearms including an 1870s Queensland Police rifle and a German machine gun were handed in to ACT Policing during the National Firearms Amnesty in the ACT between July 1 and September 30 this year.
All state and territory police services took part in the amnesty which was the first national amnesty to be held since the Port Arthur massacre.
An 1874 Martini Henry rifle issued by the Queensland police was among more than 120 firearms surrendered in the first weeks of the ACT amnesty alone, along with a genuine light horse leather rifle bucket. The rifle will be gifted back to the Queensland Police Museum.
Another interesting weapon to be handed in during the amnesty was a non-functioning German ME8 Maxim Machine Gun. This gun will be gifted to the Australian War Memorial for their collection.
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During the amnesty period, Canberrans in possession of unlawful, or unregistered firearms and firearms-related components were able to turn their weapons over to police via the National Firearms Registry at Mitchell.
During the amnesty, they could surrender the weapons free of the risk of prosecution or monetary fines.
ACT Police Minister Mick Gentleman has welcomed the number of firearms surrendered during the amnesty.
In originally announcing the amnesty, Mr Gentleman said that participants would not only avoid prosecution but also help keep Canberra safe by ensuring unregistered and unlawful firearms didn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Speaking a few weeks into the amnesty, Deputy Chief Police Officer Mark Walters said that a vast array of firearms had been handed in.
“ACT Policing is committed to ensuring that Canberra remains a safe city and this amnesty assists in removing unregistered and unwanted firearms and firearm-related items off our streets,” he said.
“A number of firearms have been handed in by people who own other firearms, but did not have the appropriate permits to own the surrendered firearm.
“It’s important that firearm permit holders are aware of the legal requirements to obtain the right permit before possessing the firearm.”
Do you think the firearms amnesty has played an important role in getting illegal guns off Canberra streets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.