Residents of NSW have stepped up to make their communities safer by handing in or registering unwanted, illegal, and unregistered firearms as part of the National Firearms Amnesty.
Launched in July 2021, the firearms amnesty has already resulted in more than 1700 firearms being handed in and more than 2200 registered across the state.
NSW Crime Stoppers and the NSW Police Force wish to thank those members of the community who have participated in the amnesty and put safety first.
CEO of NSW Crime Stoppers Peter Price AM said it was a great result and showed people in the community want to do the right thing.
"We want to encourage others in the community to do the same. There may be old firearms that you haven't used for a long time or no longer want or need, or firearms that previously haven't been registered," he said.
"Gun crime crosses borders. It may not cause harm in your community but in a community far away. Please, for the safety of your family, friends, and wider community, just hand them in.
"All of us have seen the harm that is caused by the unlawful use of a firearm and the impact on community confidence that often follows, which is why we all have a part to play in making our community safer - that's our aim."
Under the amnesty, people can register or surrender illegal firearms, unregistered or unwanted firearms, ammunition and firearm parts at no cost and without penalty, while ensuring those with a legitimate need to access firearms are able to do so. Firearms can be surrendered to a police station or licenced firearms dealer without penalty.
Like batteries, paint, and e-waste, you can't just throw away a firearm. The community can have peace of mind that guns handed in will be disposed of correctly and out of the reach of criminals.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said that any firearm left unchecked in the community posed a significant risk.
"We all have a common goal of a safer community. Taking illegal guns and ammunition out of the community is the first step," Mr Elliott said.
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"Ensuring that legal firearms are stored safely is vital to making sure they do not fall into the wrong hands."
The amnesty coincided with the launch of Gun Safe - a new online portal for managing firearms transactions in NSW.
Designed with community safety top of mind, this platform is the first of its kind replacing manual licence applications with real time information and verification.
Gun Safe ensures 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.
The portal will be linked to the acquisition of firearms in NSW and disposal of firearms locally and interstate. This risk-based system notifies the registry of unusual or unverified transactions which will reduce risk of harm in the community.
NSW Police Force's Police Prosecutions and Licensing Enforcement Commander, Assistant Commissioner Scott Cook, said the firearms amnesty encouraged firearm owners to surrender or register their firearms.
"The amnesty is aimed at anyone who comes into possession of an unwanted, unregistered or illegal firearm at any time. It is everyone's responsibility to make sure firearms are registered," Assistant Commissioner Cook said.
"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.
Participating dealers can now accept and record unregistered firearms through the NSW Police Force's new Gun Safe platform.
NSW Police Force's Firearms Registry Commander, Superintendent Cameron Lindsay, said Gun Safe provided firearms dealers enhanced recording and reporting functions, and real-time information about firearms on the system.
"The amnesty module, which joins other functionality for dealers, licence applicants and firearm licence holders, has meant that firearms handed in under the amnesty are recorded in real-time in the Firearm Registry database," Supt Lindsay said.
More information about the amnesty and surrendering, registering, or selling unwanted firearms is available from https://crimestoppers.com.au/firearmamnesty
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