Australia announces first national firearms amnesty since 1996
By Chris Eger
Australia’s Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan of the Liberal Party, is encouraging those with heirloom guns they are looking to get rid of to bring them in to police (Photo: Parliament of Australia)
Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced plans on Friday to allow those with illegal or unregistered guns to turn them in without compensation.
The three-month National Firearms Amnesty will begin on July 1 to remove unwanted firearms from the island continent with a population of around 24 million. While there have been several state and regional turn-in events, this will be the first nationwide period in over two decades.
“This is as much about giving a family a chance to get rid of an old heirloom as it is about getting rid of guns off our streets,” said Keenan.
Australia held a nationwide gun buyback in 1996 following a mass killing known as the Port Arthur massacre, where a gunman murdered 35 people and injured 24. The measure led to severe restrictions on firearms including an outright ban on most semi-automatic and pump-action rifles and shotguns. During the enactment of the law, the government bought back nearly 700,000 guns at a cost of $500 million.
The effect of the buyback is subject to