Owners of illegal, unregistered or unwanted firearms have the opportunity to hand them in, no questions asked, under a permanent amnesty.
Hume Police are encouraging people to take advantage of the amnesty, launched last July. People can register or surrender illegal, unregistered or unwanted firearms, ammunition and firearm parts at no cost and without penalty.
The message, coincides with the launch of Operation Exert in the Goulburn region which will spread throughout the state. Running from January 17 to 22, the firearms registry will train officers in safe storage inspections and audits.
Hume Police District Commander, Superintendent Paul Condon, joined firearms registry commander, Superintendent Cameron Lindsay and NSW Crime Stoppers CEO Peter Price for the launch at Goulburn Police Station on Tuesday.
Superintendent Cameron said under the amnesty, people could take illegal, unregistered or unwanted firearms to dealers or police, without fear of prosecution.
"It enables them to get the firearm registered or maybe on-sell it through the dealership or forward it to licensed firearm holders," he said.
"...We are finding that a lot of guns handed in around the state are from deceased estates. These are instances where the firearm licence holder has passed on and the family has not made any attempt to address the issue. Unfortunately a lot go missing and are found in unwanted locations. We encourage people, as part of this amnesty, to hand them in."
Running in tandem, Goulburn officers are being trained to undertake firearms inspections and audits this week. Superintendent Condon said a buddy training system, to continue indefinitely, would eventually ensure every officer across the Hume Police District's police stations would be equipped in some capacity to do so. The training will spread to other areas in NSW, including the Southern Highlands.
"Firearms have been located in the wrong hands," he said.
"We are finding them in the hands of motorcycle gangs and organised crime gangs in Sydney and other highly populated areas.
"...As a commander it frustrates me that people work hard to get a firearms licence - and I understand people need them for various reasons - but don't store them properly. If people leave car keys and remote controls to their garage lying around, thieves use it as an opportunistic crime, break in and sometimes find keys to the firearms cabinet next to it and labelled (as such).
"It is not only people's responsibility to store firearms correctly but to ensure the security of that safe. This is not only for the sake of family members but to stop opportunistic crime, where those guns can be on-sold and used in horrendous crimes throughout Australia."
Superintendent Condon also urged people to think about the number of guns they had. In some instances, owners had 30 plus firearms, many of which were not in regular use.
Mr Price said the permanent amnesty would capture more firearms but the "no questions" asked approach would not last forever.
"The amnesty gives everyone a chance to participate because people's circumstances change from year to year. It has been very successful," he said.
"...We know the majority of people want to do the right thing and 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 those that previously haven't been registered.
"Gun crime crosses borders. It may not cause harm in your community but in one further away. Please, for the safety of your family, friends, and wider community, just hand them in."
Residents can surrender or register their firearms via the new Gun Safe platform, a new online portal for managing firearms transactions in NSW.
A spokesman said the portal ensured all firearms transactions were accounted for and gave the community peace of mind that police could access real time information.
The portal is linked to the acquisition of firearms in NSW and their disposal locally and interstate. The system notifies the registry of unusual or unverified transactions.
More information about the amnesty and surrendering, registering, or selling unwanted firearms is available from https://crimestoppers.com.au/firearmamnesty
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.