The Morrison Government has partnered with Crime Stoppers Australia for this year’s National Illicit Firearms Campaign, keeping Australians safe by removing illegal guns from the community.
During the three-month campaign, a range of community engagement and promotional events in regional and metropolitan communities across Australia will encourage people to share what they know about illegal guns, and to safely surrender any they may have in their possession.
Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the Morrison Government was committed to keeping Australians safe by stamping out gun violence in our communities.
“Illegal guns are more likely to be used in crime, more likely to be defective or insecurely stored, and more likely to be involved in accidents. There is no excuse – indeed no legitimate reason – for anyone in Australia to have an illicit firearm,” Minister Andrews said.
“Our message today is simple – if you have an illicit firearm, do the right thing; do the right thing by your friends, family, and community; do the right thing by yourself – hand it in. If you surrender it, you can do so without penalty. The alternative is a knock on your door from the police and the potential for serious criminal penalties, including imprisonment.”
Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs Jason Wood said the campaign will target illegal gun owners by encouraging families, friends and anybody else who may have information to speak up and share what they know with Crime Stoppers before it’s too late.
“You may think you know a person well, but owners of illegal guns have not been subject to background checks and may not be on the radar of police.
“This year’s National Illegal Firearms Campaign is part of an increased push to encourage owners of illegal, unregistered and unwanted firearms, parts and accessories to hand them in to be registered or destroyed.
“With over 260,000 unregistered guns estimated to be in circulation in Australia, it is important for the community to step up and share information they know or suspect about an illegal gun.”
“In the criminal underworld, the weapon of choice is an illegal firearm. In many cases, criminal gangs will target individuals who have illegal firearms to gain access to weapons,” Assistant Minister Wood said.
Crime Stoppers Australia Chair, Dr Vince Hughes, said all Australians should consider how they would feel if they had information about an illegal gun which was then used to harm or kill someone.
“Criminals often go to great lengths to obtain a firearm illegally and then conceal it from authorities, and it’s unlikely they would go to that effort unless they are prepared to use it,” Dr Hughes said.
“With the Commonwealth Government, police services across the country and Crime Stoppers working together on this campaign, you need to surrender that gun now or risk being reported by someone who has information about you.”
“Australia is certainly not immune from the devastating impacts that come with having illegal firearms in the hands of criminals. We have seen the tragic loss of life and severe injuries that occur when people turn a blind eye and allow illegal firearms to remain in the community,” he said.
“The demand for illegal firearms is driven by organised crime groups right through to low-level individual criminals, who want and use firearms to protect their interests and to commit violent acts.”
“If you suspect that someone has an illegal gun, share what you know with Crime Stoppers before it is too late. Report safely without the need to say who you are, get involved, or put yourself at risk of harm.”
To share information about an unregistered or illegal gun, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go online at www.crimestoppers.com.au/illegalguns.
Further information, including the process to surrender a gun in each State or Territory, is available at www.crimestoppers.com.au/firearmamnesty.