Planned gun amnesty welcomed by pistol club president

Thousands of guns were surrendered in a previous amnesty. Picture: Nick Moir

Thousands of guns were surrendered in a previous amnesty. Picture: Nick Moir

A planned national gun amnesty has been welcomed by the Campbelltown Liverpool Districts Pistol Club president.

The federal government is close to finalising an agreement with states and territories for a gun amnesty, similar to the buyback after the Port Arthur massacre 20 years ago.

The amnesty would allow people owning unregistered and illegal guns to hand them in to authorities.

Campbelltown Liverpool Districts Pistol Club president Gary Locke said any move to reduce the number of illegal firearms was a positive one.

“I think it will be good,” he said.

“We don’t want any guns in the hands of unregistered, unlicensed owners.”

Mr Locke said guns should only be used by “law-abiding citizens”, like those who belong to the pistol club.

He believes the harder it is for criminals to get their hands on firearms, the better.

“Any guns that are out of the system in the illegal gun trade is always a good thing,” he said.

“There are a lot of strict laws and regulations around possessing firearms and the authorities know where the guns are and who’s got them.”

Mr Locke said guns crimes are not committed by registered owners and “all the problems stem from people without licences.”

Justice Minister Michael Keenan told Fairfax the aim of the amnesty was to reduce the number of guns on the ‘grey market’.

The grey market refers to long guns, such as rifles that were not turned over or registered in the 1996 buyback and are not illegal.

Some authorities say many of the guns used in crimes in Australia have fallen from the grey market into the hands of criminals.

“What we want to do is reduce the number of guns that are in the illegal and the grey market,” Mr Keenan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Some of that of course will just be somebody who might have grandpa's old gun in the back shed that hasn't been registered that we would like to be handed in.

“We want to make sure that people have the opportunity to hand these guns in without having any penalty.”

Mr Keenan expects “thousands” of guns will be handed in across the country.

There is no definitive timeline for the amnesty yet.

Macarthur’s police have been approached for comment.

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