Rocket launcher among 57,000 firearms surrendered in gun amnesty

Thousands of automatic rifles, handguns and a rocket launcher are among the weapons handed in during last year's National Firearms Amnesty.

The final results, released today, show 57,324 firearms were handed in between July and September across Australia to be registered or destroyed.

Authorities received around 2,500 fully-automatic or semi-automatic guns that were previously unaccounted for and 2,900 handguns.

The rocket launcher was handed in to a licensed firearms dealer in Queensland, who believes it was once recovered at a local tip.

New South Wales received the highest number of firearms at 24,831, followed by Queensland on 16,375. Victorians handed in 9,175 guns.

A German Maxim machine gun, handed in during the amnesty in the ACT.

Almost a third of the weapons were destroyed, with the rest either registered and handed back, or passed on to a licensed dealer for resale.

Federal Minister for Law Enforcement Angus Taylor says the weapons are no longer on the "grey market", which refers to guns that are not registered and not in the hands of criminals.

"It's critical to get them off this grey market … so they don't end up in the black market," he said.

"We saw with the Lindt Cafe event, Man Monis was using a gun that had come from the grey market."

The Lindt Cafe shooter and two of his hostages were killed when police stormed the Sydney cafe in December 2014.

The review that followed led to the gun amnesty with the states and Commonwealth agreeing to share the cost.

A Tower Enfield pistol handed in during the amnesty.

But senator David Leyonhjelm, an avid shooter and gun advocate, does not think it has achieved much at all.

"We know it makes no difference to anything that really matters," Senator Leyonhjelm said.

"The Government says its taking guns off the street. The guns that it gets in an amnesty were never on the street. They're grandpa's old guns. They were in the back of a cupboard or wardrobe in a ceiling somewhere. They were never going to be used in a crime.

"And of course the criminals who misuse guns, who hold up banks and shoot each other … there's no way they'd hand in their guns in an amnesty anyway."

Minister Angus Taylor said Australia is safer as a result of the amnesty.

"I think it's good to have those guns either registered or destroyed because we can then track them," he said.

"We know they won't end up in the wrong hands. We know that any transaction can be tracked."

"It means we have even better firearm arrangements than we had [before] and we had some of the best firearm laws and regulations, we think, in the world."

The Government is not ruling out further gun amnesties in the future.

Original Article

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