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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Hunter residents, show us your guns

As part of the first-ever permanent national amnesty, NSW Police Force and Crime Stoppers are calling on Hunter residents to register or surrender illegal firearms and ammunition without being penalised for illegal possession.

Crime Stoppers and police across the country will give locals a chance to surrender, for destruction, unwanted or unregistered firearms, parts and ammunition at no cost.

They’ll also escape without penalty for illegal possession.

“Our ultimate aim is for safer communities, and this starts with the safe storage of firearms and the handing in of illegal firearms and ammunition,” Crime Stoppers CEO Peter Price AM said.

“Taking illegal guns out of the community can never be a bad thing.”

The amnesty coincides with the launch of Gun Safe – a new online portal for managing firearms transactions in NSW.

Designed with community safety top of mind, this platform is the first of its kind replacing manual licence applications with real time information and verification.

It’ll be linked to the acquisition of firearms in NSW and disposal of firearms locally and interstate, too.

This risk-based system notifies the registry of unusual or unverified transactions, which will reduce risk of harm in the community.

NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the introduction of a permanent national amnesty sent a clear message that community safety was paramount.

“It will allow people to surrender for destruction unwanted or unregistered firearms and ammunition cost free,” he explained.

“Gun safe, the new online portal will ensure that all firearms transactions are accounted for, giving the community peace of mind that police can access real time information when it comes to guns to help prevent crime and keep our communities safe.”

Police Prosecutions and Licensing Enforcement Commander Assistant Commissioner Scott Cook is urging Hunter gun owners to surrender or register their firearms.

“Our focus, as always, is public safety,” he said.

“We want to reduce the number of illegal firearms in the community, so they don’t fall into the hands of criminals, who use unregistered firearms for intimidation and violence.”

Mr Price added the initiatives were moving towards a more community-centric approach to firearms and safety.

“Previously, firearms amnesties had a definitive time frame,” he said.

“But, we understand that some members of the community might change their minds about handing in illegal firearms, so we want to give them the opportunity to do so anytime, anywhere.

“All of us have seen the harm that is caused by the unlawful use of a firearm and the impact on community confidence that often follows, which is why we all have a part to play in making our community safer – that’s our aim.”

Participating dealers can now accept and record unregistered firearms through the NSW Police Force’s new Gun Safe platform.

Dealers using the digital platform can register firearms, prohibited weapons, gun parts and ammunition under the Amnesty.

“For firearm dealers, Gun Safe provides enhanced recording and reporting functions, and real-time information about firearms on the system,” Assistant Commissioner Cook said.

“The new amnesty enhances the services available to dealers on Gun Safe including more transactions, beyond buying and selling of registered firearms.

“For police, the system gives us more oversight, so we know when, where and how amnesty guns are being handed in.”

More information about the amnesty and surrendering, registering or selling unwanted firearms is available from www.crimestoppers.com.au/firearmsamnesty

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