NSW firearm amnesty nets thousands of guns

A sampling of the 8000 firearms turned in during a New South Wales gun amnesty.Police hope the 8300 weapons surrendered to NSW authorities during the latest gun amnesty will put a dent in the killing power of the state’s criminals.

More than 1300 rifles, 400 shotguns and thousands of handguns were surrendered over the three months, NSW Police said on Thursday.

However, -wide there are still more privately owned guns and illicit firearms in circulation today than ever before.

University of Sydney gunpolicy成都模特佳丽招聘 research estimates there were more than 3.57 million legal and illegal firearms owned by civilians in in 2017.

In 1996, the year of the Port Arthur Massacre, there were an estimated 3.2 million guns, the research shows.

A historic 1851 navy six-chamber percussion revolver and eight .303 Lee Enfield bolt action repeater rifles were among the notable weapons handed in during the latest NSW amnesty.

About 80 per cent of the total guns collected were from regional areas with towns on Sydney’s fringe and farming communities identified as hotspots.

Police Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy says the amnesty reduces opportunistic gun crime and lowers the risk of accidental shootings.

But he acknowledges criminals still seek out firearms for their trade.

“We understand that organised crime will always go to firearms for their criminal acts,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“But I think the community has shown very strong conviction today to really ensure that these (8300) firearms are off the streets of NSW.”

The Howard government’s gun buyback following the Port Arthur massacre saw the number of guns nationally drop by almost 700,000 but in the decades since the total has crept back up to surpass the previous all-time high.

Despite the increase in guns, the number of licensed firearms owners is close to its lowest point.

In the late 1980s, the last time there were more than 3.5 million guns in , there were more than 2.38 million licensed owners. But in 2016 there were just 816,000.

Data released by the ABC last year under freedom of information laws showed some residents of Sydney and Newcastle have assembled legal arsenals of up to 300 guns per person.

But the number of illicit firearms has also grown – last year there were an estimated 414,000 nationally, gunpolicy成都模特佳丽招聘 suggests.

Between 2006 and 2016 that number was hovering between 250,000 and 267,000.

NSW Police say the latest amnesty follows the success of a national operation in 2017 that resulted in nearly 25,000 guns being given up in NSW alone.

Mr Loy said getting a combined 33,000 guns out of circulation across the state was “a positive story”.