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Focus now needs to be on illegal use as shootings follow amnesty success

Focus now needs to be on illegal use as shootings follow amnesty success

The National Firearms Amnesty, which ended on September 30, led to the surrender of more than 50,000 firearms nationally.

Announced by Commonwealth Justice Minister Michael Keenan “in response to the increasing threat of terrorism”, the amnesty intended to make the community safer.

“Unregistered firearms could fall into the hands of bikies,” he said when announcing the amnesty. “Unregistered firearms could fall into the hands of someone else who could do the wrong things with them.”

NSW collected the most firearms, with about 23,729 firearms surrendered for destruction or handed in for registration during the three-month amnesty. A further 16,000 firearms were surrendered in Queensland, 2648 in South Australia, 1924 in Tasmania, 1242 in Western Australia, 700 in the ACT and 322 in the Northern Territory.

Licensing and Regulation Division Superintendent Paul Millett believed that the amnesty had “resulted in a tangible benefit to community safety” by removing more than 3600 unwanted firearms from the state.

The amnesty was welcomed by SSAA Victoria, along with many other people, as it provided an opportunity to hand in unregistered firearms. With the amnesty over, it’s time to tackle illegal use of firearms by criminals. Several recent firearm-related criminal incidents presented risks to community safety. They were:

  • A non-fatal shooting in Meadow Heights on Sunday, October 15: A 28-year-old Meadow Heights man was charged with intentionally causing serious injury, recklessly causing serious injury, possessing an unregistered firearm, making a threat to kill, using a firearm to prevent arrest and cultivating a narcotic plant.
  • A non-fatal shooting in Seabrook on Sunday, October 15: A 19-year-old Melton man was charged with reckless conduct endangering life, reckless conduct endangering serious injury, intentionally causing serious injury, recklessly causing serious injury, prohibited person using a firearm, possessing ammunition without licence, and drug possession.
  • A drive-by shooting in Glen Waverley on Wednesday, October 18: Several shots were fired into the front lounge and bedroom windows of a house where a 52-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man and a 24-year-old man were sleeping. They were not injured.
  • A fatal shooting at Ravenhall on Friday, October 20: Two men were taken to hospital after several shots were fired at a local business. A 40-year-old St Albans man later died in hospital and a 36-year-old St Albans man remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition. A 40-year-old Hillside man was charged with murder and attempted murder.

SSAA Victoria continues to advocate for stronger border protection and increased checks of shipping containers at our ports. Stopping the flow of firearms and parts that are illegally smuggled into Australia is the most sensible way to stop firearms from getting into the wrong hands.

Meanwhile, many rare and historically significant firearms were handed in during the amnesty. They will be put on display at museums across the country.