The states have all reportedly agreed to implement a permanent national firearms amnesty from sometime next year.
As a result, we’ve sent this press release to media outlets across the country providing some perspective on it - including the fact criminals don’t hand in their guns, so amnesties aren’t magically going to take guns away from the bad people.
THE newly-announced national perpetual firearms amnesty means law-abiding citizens will not have to fear jail time for inadvertent or unintentional possession of undocumented firearms, according to one of the country’s top pro-gun organisations.
Shooters Union Australia is the country’s pre-eminent organisation representing law-abiding firearms users and its president, Graham Park, said the newly announced permanent national amnesty would help to avoid penalising people trying to do the right thing.
“A widow whose gun-owning husband has suddenly died or someone moving into their new home and finding an old gun in the attic from a previous owner should not find themselves potentially looking at a jail sentence and other repercussions,” he said.
“While some states already have informal amnesties in place, an official national one will remove some of the uncertainty and lack of clarity around the process for people wanting to legally register or dispose of undocumented firearms.”
Shooters Union has been campaigning for such an amnesty for several years and Mr Park said while he understood the details were still being worked out, he was hoping the national one would be run along the same lines as the previous amnesties in Queensland.
“We hope it will be run along the lines of the Queensland amnesties, where people can take their undocumented guns to a licensed firearms dealer and register them (if they have a licence), sell them, or have them legally stored while the go through the licensing process,” he said.
“Not involving the police directly means more people are comfortable coming forward with undocumented guns, which ultimately leads to better public safety outcomes.”
He cautioned against people getting too excited by the idea of “getting illegal guns off the streets”, pointing out the majority of guns handed in during previous amnesties were not owned by criminals and tended to be obsolete or junk anyway.
“Amnesties are great if you want to find rusty barely working single-shot .22 rifles that have been in barn lofts since the 1980s, but criminals never hand their guns in so don’t pretend this is going to keep guns out of their hands,” he said.
Ultimately, the need for an amnesty could be done away with by removing the requirement to register rifles and shotguns, Mr Park said.
“Rather than creating endless red tape and wasting taxpayer’s money on something that has never been proven to prevent a crime anywhere in the world, removing the requirement to register longarms would mean unlicensed people could simply take guns they weren’t supposed to have to a firearms dealer or gun club and dispose of them legally to someone with a licence,” he said.
“It would save everyone a lot of time and money, and wouldn’t make Australia any less safe – after all, the police already know who has a gun licence so it really doesn’t matter what specific guns someone owns beyond that.”
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