Australia has a problem. And it’s not terrorism. The country is quietly being disarmed at an alarming rate. According to this Japan Times report, more than 6,000 guns were voluntarily surrendered to the Australian Government in a one-month time period.
More than 6,000 guns have been surrendered in Australia’s most populous state in just one month, police said Tuesday, after fears of terrorism and an influx of illegal firearms sparked a national amnesty.
The government said in June it believed there were as many as 260,000 illicit weapons on the streets, and with the threat of extremist attacks and a spate of gangland shootings, it wanted to minimize the danger.
Among the weapons handed over in New South Wales were four SKS assault rifles, a 9 mm homemade submachine-gun, a Colt AR-15 rifle, M1 carbine and a .44 calibre magnum revolver, state police said.
In total, some 1,700 rifles, 460 shotguns and nearly 200 handguns were surrendered to police and dealers, while thousands of others were handed in for registration.
“We’ve also received more than 110 prohibited weapons including samurai swords, knives, and other edged weapons,” Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Hoffman said.
No official figures have been announced yet for other states and territories.
The amnesty runs from July 1 until Sept. 30, allowing people to hand in unregistered or unwanted firearms with no questions asked. Outside that period people face fines of up to 280,000 Australian dollars ($222,000) or up to 14 years in prison.