Aussie firearms amnesty brings in over 50,000 guns

This article is more than 12 months old

SYDNEY: More than 50,000 guns were handed in under Australia's first national firearms amnesty since a mass shooting 20 years ago, officials said yesterday.

The three-month operation ended last weekend, just before retired accountant Stephen Paddock massacred 58 people in Las Vegas in an act that propelled gun control back into the global spotlight.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said there had been "an overwhelming response" to the amnesty.

"Australia has some of the strongest gun laws in the world, but illicit firearms remain a threat to community safety," he said. "As a result of this successful amnesty, there are now 50,000 fewer firearms on the streets."

Ahead of the amnesty, the government estimated there were up to 260,000 illicit weapons in the community. The amnesty allowed people to hand in unregistered or unwanted firearms with no questions asked.

Outside this, they face fines of up to A$280,000 (S$297,000) or 14 years in jail for illegal gun possession.

While individual states have periodically run amnesties before, this was the first national programme since 35 people were killed at the historic Tasmanian colonial convict site of Port Arthur in 1996. - AFP

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