GUN owners in the Gunnedah district are not wasting any time in handing in their unregistered firearms as a three-month amnesty continues.
The Oxley Local Area Command has been listed as having the highest amount of guns handed in across the state, with police urging community members to not be complacent if they are aware they possess an illegal firearm.
“Oxley LAC currently has the trophy of the most firearms handed in across the state so far,” Acting Superintendent Jeff Budd said.
“We’re approaching 200 firearms that have been handed in over the last six weeks of the amnesty.
“We have another six weeks to go, so we know there’s lots of firearms in the community that people have been stuck with or lumped with over the years for various reasons. This is a great way to get rid of those firearms.”
Acting Superintendent Budd said he wasn’t surprised the region was topping the state due to a hunting and hobbiest population.
“Our command has the highest rate of gun ownership in Australia and it goes to show there would be more weapons in the community,” he said.
“We’ve gone from antique black powder weapons to hand guns, to sawn-off weapons to stolen weapons. Most of the weapons are old, useless and have no value but they’re still weapons and capable of being fired and are dangerous.”
He said this was a chance for community members to avoid being fined, charged or convicted if found with an illegal weapon after the amnesty.
“I’ve heard reported by a local gun owner that this amnesty wasn’t targeted at the right people, that is probably one of the most regressive and backward comments I’ve heard,” he said.
“What we know so far is we’ve already recovered one stolen weapon and that matter is being investigated.
“But this gives the opportunity for people who have guns in their possession for whatever reason not to be criminals and not be subject to criminal offences and head down to the police station to get rid of them.
“If you have weapons in your possession that you wish to try and get registered, then take them to the dealers. If you have weapons that you want to get rid of, then take them to the police.
“Post the amnesty, if you’re in possession of an unregistered weapon, you will be committing a criminal offence.”
As of Monday this week about 2400 firearms and firearm-related items have been surrendered across the state. More than 3320 have been handed in for registration, and 740 have been acquired by dealers.