Shooters want permanent firearm amnesty

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (NSW) Inc. (SSAA NSW) and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFF) have backed the 2018 firearm amnesty but questioned why it is not permanently in place.

The amnesty will run from July 1 to  September 30 and allow people to legally dispose of or register a firearm without penalty.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Robert Borsak said his party would lobby for a permanent gun amnesty.

“We are calling for a permanent amnesty and will be seeking the same commitment from the government, including waiving the $10 registration fee from the Firearms registry,” he said.

“However, we are pleased the government has heeded our advice for another gun amnesty.”

SSAA NSW Executive Director Diana Melham said they whilst they support the amnesty it would not resolve the issue of career criminals and their use of illegal guns.  

“We must focus on the criminals with illegal firearms as criminals by their very nature do not abide by the law, so it is unlikely that they will front up to their local dealership or police station to hand in their ill-gotten firearms," she said.  

"We must make it more difficult for them to get their hands on illegal firearms by dedicating more funding to frontline policing.

“No one wants illegal guns off the streets and out of our community more than licensed, law-abiding firearm owners."

Dubbo Gunpro’s Martin Bourke agreed with the SSAA and the SFF about a permanent amnesty.

"A permanent amnesty is a better idea than having one once a year for a couple of months," he said. 

“At the end of the day a criminal does not care about firearm laws, they don’t care about the firearm registry they don’t care about an amnesty.

“The last amnesty was purely people wanting to do the right thing, 99 percent of the people who brought guns in were normal members of the community.

“I certainly didn't have any underworld figures walk into my shop saying they wanted to get rid of a firearm; the main thing is most people want to do the right thing, and a permanent amnesty would allow that to happen.”

The SSAA said they would continue to lobby for a permanent firearm amnesty.

“We have been calling on the NSW government to implement a permanent amnesty for some time now," Mrs Melham said. 

“From our discussions with the government, it seems reasonable to expect that periodic amnesties will continue to be announced in the future and the prohibitive costs involved with a continuous amnesty is the only reason this initiative is not permanent.”