Police urge locals to give up firearms

Danielle RaffaeleNorth West Telegraph
Constable Trent Banner and Claire Thompson with firearms handed over to police at South Hedland police station
Camera IconConstable Trent Banner and Claire Thompson with firearms handed over to police at South Hedland police station

Hedland residents had a chance to surrender unregistered firearms and parts to police with no penalty as part of a Statewide campaign in partnership with Crime Stoppers last week.

The amnesty offers locals the opportunity to register their firearms or apply for an official licence.

It is estimated 250,000 long-arm and 10,000 handguns which are either unregistered or unable to be registered are believed to be in Australia, including prohibited accessories such as silencers and ammunition.

The campaign focused on raising awareness and education of the dangers posed by unregistered firearms.

Grey market firearms - those which should be registered or handed in - are not typically kept by people with criminal intent, but police were concerned they could end up in the hands of people who plan to use them for criminal purposes.

Crime Stoppers WA chief executive Dr Vince Hughes said the amnesty would reduce the number of illicit firearms in the community.

“What we’ve found in amnesties is a lot of the time it’s people who perhaps should’ve registered it a while ago and now are fearful they’ll get in trouble for not doing so,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s a family heirloom, sometimes they simply find it in an old shed - any gun should be registered and if you aren’t sure about it then this is your chance to learn more or hand it in.”

Pilbara District Police Inspector Peter Branchi said the amnesty provided people the opportunity to safely dispose of a firearms without cost or penalty.

“Whether it is an inherited family heirloom, an old gun left in the back of the shed, received from a friend or family or a firearm legally registered but no longer needed - they all remain a potential risk to community safety,” he said.

In 2017, Crime Stoppers conducted a national firearm amnesty which resulted in the seizure of 57,324 firearms - including a machine gun - as well as 2432 parts and accessories and 80,000 rounds of ammunition.

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