National gun amnesty announced by Turnbull Government
THE Federal Government has confirmed it has secured the support required from state and territory governments to hold a national gun amnesty.
The announcement comes as Justice Minister Michael Keenan outlines three other major spends intended to reduce the number of illegal firearms in Australia.
- Spending $88 million to increase screening and examination of international mail, air and sea cargo in an effort to stop guns at our borders.
- Spending $116 million in the National Anti-Gang Squad, with strike teams now in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia and liaison officers in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
- Providing an additional $25.4 million to fund the expansion of the AFP's National Forensics Rapid Lab to enhance the AFP's capacity to detect and seize illegal firearms and target the criminal syndicates that peddle them.
The government says it will also introduce amendments to existing legislation in order to close loop holes that let criminals avoid prosecution when they imported firearm parts as opposed to complete guns.
The maximum sentence for firearm trafficking will also be quadrupled - from five years to 20 years.
"State-level officials gave unanimous in-principle support for a national firearms amnesty at a meeting last month," Minister Keenan's statement read.
"The timing and structure of a national amnesty, and further measures to combat gun-related crime, will be considered by the nation's Police Ministers at the next Law, Crime and Community Safety Council meeting to be held before the end of the year."
Data from the Queensland Police Service shows there has been a large increase in the number of licensed firearms, across the state, since the late 90s.
In 1997 there were 550,145 rifles and handguns owned by 177,925 licence holders.
The number of guns owned by those license holders has steadily increased since that date and in 2015 179,184 licence holders owned 757,184 guns.
Firearms accounted for 8.6% of all homicides in Queensland between 2010 and 2015 - again according to data released by QPS.
One of the biggest problems left by the Howard era gun hand-back was what is known as the grey market - guns that were not handed in and remain unregistered.
There is no definitive way of knowing how many grey market guns there are in Australia however some estimates have said the number could be more than one million.