Riverina firearms amnesty an opportunity to do 'right thing'

Pardon to hit target: NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy (right), with Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys on Wednesday announced the New South Wales Government would conduct a gun amnesty. Picture: Dean Lewins
Pardon to hit target: NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy (right), with Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys on Wednesday announced the New South Wales Government would conduct a gun amnesty. Picture: Dean Lewins

Riverina police have joined the state in a three-month firearms amnesty. 

It comes amid an operation to reduce the number of unregistered and unwanted weapons across the region. 

Firearms and firearm-related items can be surrendered at approved drop-off points, including licensed dealers, mobile stations, and police stations, from July 1.

The district’s police chief, Bob Noble, said it gave residents an “opportunity to do the right thing” … “no questions asked”.  

While it may not appeal to gun-wielding criminals, Superintendent Noble hoped it would put distance between them and the weapons.

“We’re not under any illusions crooks are going to go straight and see the light just because we’re providing this opportunity,” Superintendent Noble said.

“We might be able to stop firearms falling into their hands.” 

The state-wide Firearms Amnesty comes after 222 incidents involving prohibited or regulated weapons offences were recorded across Wagga between January and December 2017, according to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. 

This number revealed a 30 per cent drop, when compared to a reported 306 incidents across 2016. 

Yet, despite the downward trend, last year’s figures were more than double the state average per capita. 

“We (unregistered firearms) are out there,” Superintendent Noble said. 

“We’re finding them when on searches … at scenes of domestic violence, prohibition orders, search warrants and registration checks.”

Superintendent Noble said residents in possession of firearms – who shouldn’t be –could dispose of them in a legal and safe way.

The amnesty follows a successful nation-wide campaign last year, with more than 24,800 firearms handed in to police across NSW.

Superintendent Noble said more than 200 weapons had been surrendered across Wagga alone. 

While not a blanket fix, he said it was a step in the right direction. 

Anyone with concerns about handling firearms or safely transporting them, can contact the police firearms registry on 1300 362 562.