This rocket launcher was surrendered in Queensland. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty
This rocket launcher was surrendered in Queensland. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty

Rocket launcher, machine guns turn up in firearm amnesty

 

A SHOCKING report has revealed how Australians have handed more than 57,000 illegal firearms to police in just three months.

Authorities received around 2500 fully-automatic or semiautomatic guns that were previously unaccounted for and 2900 handguns, according to the National Firearms Amnesty report.

The guns were handed in between July and September across Australia to be registered or destroyed.

Among the devastating collection of weapons handed in were some bizarre historical oddities, but there was also a selection of worrying high-powered firearms.

Take this rocket launcher for example, which was handed to firearm specialists in Queensland. The licensed firearms dealer who took it in believes it was once recovered at a local tip.

This rocket launcher was surrendered in Queensland. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty
This rocket launcher was surrendered in Queensland. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty

A nasty looking Buffalo Arms M1919A4 Browning machine gun, which was widely used during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War was handed to officers in Western Australia.

The firearm was found stored in a box in a cave on a large property.

 

A German Maxim machine gun, handed in as part of a national gun amnesty. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty
A German Maxim machine gun, handed in as part of a national gun amnesty. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty

There was even a handmade machine gun recovered in South Australia - which was sheltered in a briefcase when it was surrendered.

In Tasmania, a gun owner handed in a high-powered Norinco SKK semiautomatic rifle along with more than 1000 rounds of ammunition.

This Buffalo Arms M1919A4 Browning machine gun was found stored in a cave. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty
This Buffalo Arms M1919A4 Browning machine gun was found stored in a cave. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty

The amnesty also brought in weapons that weren't firearms. In Victoria alone, there were 97 bladed weapons and 54 non-bladed weapons handed in. These included crossbows, tasers, swords, daggers, knuckledusters and knives.

Despite the deadly potential of the weapons, some are of historical importance and have been handed to museums for displays.

One of these was an antique revolver and sword collection from the Swiss Armed Forces of the 1880s.

"A husband and wife contacted their local historical society during the amnesty to donate a revolver and two sabres," the report stated.

This antique Swiss weapon collection is now in a museum. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty
This antique Swiss weapon collection is now in a museum. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty

"The items had belonged to one of the owners' fathers, who left Australia as a boy in the 1880s to complete his education in Switzerland.

"After completing his education, the boy joined the Swiss Armed Forces where he served as a captain in the cavalry for a number of years before returning to Australia.

"The items were donated together with a complete uniform to a local museum where they will go on display."

Other historic guns were handed in. Some were partially if not completely deactivated. However, the report warned that these could be modified to be reused.

Some of the guns have historical value. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty
Some of the guns have historical value. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty

Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor said the amnesty is a great example of what can be achieved when governments and the Australian public work together to make our communities safer.

"Taking these unregistered firearms off the streets means they will not fall into the hands of criminals, who might use them to endanger the lives of innocent Australians," Mr Taylor said.

"The government is committed to removing illegal firearms from our community and tackling gun-related crime.

"The next step of our ambitious agenda is passing our legislation that cracks down on gun trafficking."

The National Firearms Amnesty ran from July 1 to September 30, 2017, with an average of 630 firearms handed in per day.

This small French Garter gun was surrendered in Victoria. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty
This small French Garter gun was surrendered in Victoria. Picture: National Firearms Amnesty

The haul is the largest effort to clean up weapons since gun laws were reformed in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, when Australians have handed in approximately 464 firearms a day.

But there's a long way to go until some of Australia's 260,000 illegal guns are out of terrorists' hands.

Police in NSW received the highest number of guns in the amnesty - where the total number of guns handed in reached a total of 24,831. Queensland had the second-highest yield with 16,375 guns surrendered and in Victoria 9175 weapons were handed in.

The Government is not ruling out further gun amnesties in the future.


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