23 firearms and ammunition have been surrendered to Chifley police

AMNESTY: Acting Superintendent Glenn Cogdell with firearms and ammunition handed in to Chifley local area command police as part of a national amnesty.
AMNESTY: Acting Superintendent Glenn Cogdell with firearms and ammunition handed in to Chifley local area command police as part of a national amnesty.

A NATIONAL Firearms Amnesty which began two weeks ago has netted 23 firearms as well as ammunition across the Chifley local area command as people take the chance to legally dispose of unregistered firearms.

Up to one million illegal guns are thought to be held in NSW and police are hoping owners take the opportunity to surrender weapons and gun parts to authorities to stop them falling into the wrong hands.

The amnesty runs until September 30, 2017. 

It comes two decades after the last national amnesty was called in 1996 in response to the Port Arthur massacre.

Chifley local area command crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Luke Rankin said the amnesty provided an opportunity for gun owners to either register or give up an unregistered firearm without penalty.

“Unregistered and illegal firearms are a significant risk to our community, especially when they end up in the hands of criminals,” Detective Inspector Rankin said.

He added there were hefty penalties for possessing unregistered or prohibited firearms, including fines of up to $280,000, 14 years in jail and a criminal conviction. 

However, with the amnesty arrangements providing protection from prosecution, Detective Inspector Rankin said now was the time for people to surrender weapons.

With gun theft a major concern for NSW Police, especially in regional areas, Detective Inspector Rankin said officers were committed to stopping firearms falling into the hands of criminals.

And the Chifley command is no exception. Earlier this year, a man allegedly held up a woman at gunpoint in a home invasion where a further four firearms were stolen.

Deputy Commissioner for Regional NSW Field Operations Gary Warboys said the amnesty was also a time for people to focus on their responsibilities for firearm ownership and storage.

He said many rural people have firearms passed down through the family or left on a property when it changed hands.

“Now is a great opportunity for those good people to bring their firearms in that they no longer require.”

Detective Inspector Rankin said under no circumstances should loaded firearms be taken into public places – including police stations.

Anyone with concerns about handling firearms or safely transporting them, can contact the NSW Police Force Firearms Registry for assistance.

Gun owners wanting to dispose of firearms and firearm-related items under the amnesty can do so at Bathurst police station (6332 8699) or CD Field Service at Walang (6337 5374).

Those wanting to take advantage of the amnesty are asked to call ahead and make arrangements.

Anyone with concerns about handling firearms or safely transporting them, can contact the NSW Police Force Firearms Registry for assistance.