Police urge South Australians to take up unregistered gun amnesty
South Australia Police have added their voice in support of the permanent national amnesty on unregistered firearms, warning that serious fines await those who are found in possession of the weapons.
The new amnesty will be permanent but unlike past amnesties, no compensation will be paid for surrendered weapons.
The last national firearms amnesty in 2017 resulted in more than 57,000 weapons being handed in across Australia.
Last week, federal Assistant Minister for Community Safety Jason Wood said:
"Unregistered firearms are a threat to our community.
"They are difficult to trace and can fall into the hands of criminals to commit terrible crimes while avoiding police detection."
In a statement, Limestone Coast Superintendent Campbell Hill said if people in the Limestone Coast Local Service Area have a firearm they no longer want or need, they can hand it into the local police station or the seven participating licenced firearms dealers in the South East:
“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,”
Supt Hill told a Tuesday morning press conference at Mount Gambier the public were on notice that they had an opportunity to dispossess the items that attract criminal penalties:
“If someone is found in possession of one of these firearms, that again is unregistered or an illegal firearm, serious firearm offences can attract a prison sentence, a criminal record, and obviously a significant fine.
“People that are in possession of an unlicensed or an unregistered firearm face about seven years in prison, and or a $35,000 fine.
“So what we’re saying is people can bring those things (guns) to a licensed firearms dealer or the police without fear of any repercussion or any penalty.
“But the reality is that if police have to go to their property for something, and we find an unregistered or unlicensed firearm then people are going to be eligible for a criminal charge at the end of the day.
Supt Hill reminded gel blaster owners that firearms laws now also apply to them as well:
“The same thing applies if we find a gel blaster on a property then the normal possession type offences apply to that as well.”