Nearly 200 unregistered rifles and pistols were handed in to Launceston police during a gun amnesty held in the state’s north.
A report in the Examiner said the Launceston CIB had netted a range of unregistered firearms including Afghan long arms, shotguns and a Boer War rifle.
The result is double that collected in a similar amnesty held in the south of the state, designed to give people a chance to hand in illegally owned or unregistered firearms without risk of prosecution. It’s believed many of the guns come into possession through deceased estates.
Launceston CIB Detective Inspector Scott Flude said he was pleased with the results of the amnesty which was held at the Launceston Silverdome.
He said the guns would be destroyed with no chance of them falling into the hands of criminals, saying there was now zero chance that the guns could fall into the wrong hands.
“As far as we’re concerned this is an excellent result – every one of these firearms that is off the street is one less that can be accessed by the criminal element,” he said in the report.
“Probably 80 per cent of the firearms . . . have never been registered and are kicking around people’s houses unsecured, basically accessible to anyone who had the mind to take one.”
Inspector Flude said the high number didn’t necessarily mean the North had more guns than in the South.
“This is is a significant haul . . . we’re not really sure how many more are out there but we’ll keep conducting this amnesty with a view to taking as many out of the state as we can.”
More mobile amnesties are expected in the North, including in Burnie and Devonport early next year.
Inspector Flude said the guns would be taken to a Hobart scrap metal yard for melting under police supervision. The guns are all checked with their serial numbers run against the state’s firearm registry beforehand.
Police have reminded the community that Tasmania has a permanent amnesty in place. Unwanted or unregistered firearms can be handed in to any police station or registered firearms dealer for destruction.