NSW Police Force and NSW Crime Stoppers are encouraging communities in Goulburn to register or surrender their illegal firearms under a national amnesty, as police launch a gun safety operation in the area.
Under the permanent National Firearms Amnesty launched in July 2021, people can register or surrender illegal, unregistered or unwanted firearms, ammunition and firearm parts at no cost and without penalty.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police, Paul Toole, has thanked the people of NSW for playing their part in making the community safer.
“By registering and surrendering unregistered firearms, the community is helping to interrupt the circulation of illegal firearms across the state,” Deputy Premier Toole said.
“We want to stop illegal firearms from falling into the hands of criminals and being used for fear and intimidation in our community.”
NSW Police Force Police Prosecutions and Licensing Enforcement Commander, Assistant Commissioner Scott Cook, said the opportunity remains for others to surrender or hand in their firearms.
“If you’re in possession of an unwanted, unregistered or illegal firearm, we’d encourage you to surrender or register it, without fear of being penalised for illegal possession,” Assistant Commissioner Cook said.
“Our focus is on gaining visibility of firearms in the community and making sure they are correctly stored and licenced to people who don’t pose a threat to others.”
As part of continued efforts to improve gun safety, NSW Police are again conducting Operation Exert across the state this year.
The first deployment for 2022 started in Goulburn yesterday (Monday 17 January 2022) and will end on Saturday 22 January 2022.
Firearms Registry Commander, Superintendent Cameron Lindsay, said registry officers will train and work with local police in Goulburn to conduct firearm safe storage inspections and audits, during the operation.
“The Registry will work with local police and communities to ensure registered firearm holders are complying with all requirements that come with safe gun ownership and compliance,” Superintendent Lindsay said.
“Operation Exert aims to prevent, disrupt and respond to firearm-related crime, through effective firearm industry regulation.”
As part of the operation, NSW Police Force and NSW Crime Stoppers are encouraging residents in Goulburn to register or hand in firearms and firearm parts under the amnesty.
The Hume Police District Commander, Superintendent Paul Condon, said police have concerns around firearm safety and registration in the area.
“The main issues we have in this area are the number of firearms people own and security around those guns. Understandably, farmers in particular need firearms on their property, but what we are finding is that owners possess more than what they need,” Superintendent Condon said.
“Security around these firearms is also a major concern. We continually see break-and-enters where the gun safe key is labelled and openly displayed with household keys. These stolen guns are falling into the hands of criminals and criminal gangs, putting our communities at risk.”
NSW Crime Stoppers CEO, Peter Price, has urged the community in Goulburn to hand in guns they no longer need and make sure firearms are stored properly.
“We know the majority of people want to do the right thing and we want to encourage others in the community to do the same. There may be old firearms that you haven’t used for a long time or no longer want or need, or firearms that previously haven’t been registered,” Mr Price said.
“Gun crime crosses borders. It may not cause harm in your community but in one further away. Please, for the safety of your family, friends, and wider community, just hand them in.
“All of us have seen the harm that is caused by the unlawful use of a firearms and the impact on community confidence that often follows, which is why we all have a part to play in making NSW safer – that’s our aim.”
Residents are encouraged to surrender or register their firearms through licenced dealers on the new Gun Safe platform, a new online portal for managing firearms transactions in NSW.
Gun Safe ensures all firearms transactions are accounted for, giving the community peace of mind that police can access real time information when it comes to guns to help prevent crime and keep our communities safe.
The portal is linked to the acquisition of firearms in NSW and disposal of firearms locally and interstate. This risk-based system notifies the registry of unusual or unverified transactions which will reduce risk of harm in the community.
More information about the amnesty and surrendering, registering, or selling unwanted firearms is available from https://crimestoppers.com.au/firearmamnesty