NSW to repeat gun amnesty from July

Jamie McKinnell

New South Wales will hold another three-month weapons amnesty from July after the success of last year's amnesty, when nearly 25,000 guns - close to half of the national figure, were handed in.

Police Minister Troy Grant says high demand from constituents has prompted the state government to repeat the amnesty from July to September.

"This is an important initiative and an opportunity for us to do more to increase public safety, by taking previously unknown and unregistered firearms from the community and have them properly recorded or destroyed," he told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

The 2017 gun amnesty netted 24,831 firearms in NSW, about 8000 of which were destroyed. The remainder were either registered and handed back to the owners or sold.

Last year's national amnesty was the first scheme since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, which led to a controversial but successful buyback scheme and crackdown on gun ownership under former prime minister John Howard and his deputy Tim Fischer.

Mr Grant praised the brave move and said it was one of Mr Howard's greatest legacies.

"There's no doubt that in the last 20 years, statistically worldwide, the regime put in place by Mr Howard and Mr Fischer at the time has changed the landscape regarding firearm crime," he said.

Under the amnesty scheme, residents can hand in firearms and ammunition to approved drop-off points, which include police stations and gun dealers, with no questions asked.

Deputy Commissioner for Regional Field Operations Gary Worboys urged those planning to do so to make an appointment.

"We really want to see this move in a very safe and considered manner," he said.

"Just to arrive at one of those locations with a firearm will often cause some offence to people in the street."

During last year's national amnesty, some 57,000 weapons were collected, with NSW accounting for more than any other state. Police attributed this to the state's large population.