The Assistant Minister of Home Affairs, Jason Wood MP, announced in late 2019 that he had reached agreement with State and Territory Police ministers to establish a permanent National Amnesty for the surrender and registration of unlicensed firearms.
SIFA and other national shooting organisations have been advocating for a permanent amnesty for years and welcome the announcement.
SIFA spokesman Laura Patterson says it has taken 24 years since the introduction of the National Firearms Agreement to implement a permanent National Firearms Amnesty.
“This time lapse is particularly disappointing given the significant and long-term advocacy of the shooting community, and by SIFA over the last five years. We are happy that state, territory and commonwealth governments have finally listened and are poised to act,” Mrs Patterson says.
The Licensed Firearm Dealer network will be at the front line of the implementation of the amnesty, offering our geographically diverse and expert network of secure sites to manage firearm registration activities.
This model has been particularly successful in the State and Federal amnesties held in recent years and has limited the number of unregistered firearms being presented at Police Stations which are not equipped to manage the firearms transactions relevant to a National Firearms Amnesty.
Laura Patterson says a National Firearms Amnesty enables Licensed Firearms Dealers to identify firearms then arrange registration and/or destruction via the relevant Firearms Registry in each state and territory.
“Improvement to the quality of data held in Firearms Registries is now critically overdue, with many Firearms Registries retaining paper-based, error ridden data. Investment in the digitisation of Firearms Registries by states and territories is long overdue and is central to the success of a National Firearms Amnesty,” she says.
SIFA recommends that:
- A National Firearms Amnesty must involve Australian Licensed Firearms Dealers trusted and skilled in the identification of firearms and in compliance requirements unique to each state and territory. SIFA advocates for the adoption of the Queensland Amnesty Model for a National Firearms Amnesty; and
- A digital Firearms Management System that effectively supports Firearms Management Transactions, Compliance and Reporting should be in place in each jurisdiction so that issues around volume, transparency, and enforcement resourcing are foreseen and administered.
The Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia looks forward to supporting the National Firearms Amnesty informed by its skill, knowledge and expertise in Australian Firearms Management and await the Government’s invitation for industry engagement.