Permanent national firearms amnesty
The permanent national firearms amnesty commenced on 1 July 2021.
Australia has some of the strongest gun control laws in the world but illicit firearms remain a threat to community safety. All Australian governments have agreed to a permanent national firearms amnesty to reduce the number of unregistered firearms in the community.
The Australian Government is committed to working closely with state and territory counterparts and relevant stakeholders to maintain the safety of the Australian community, while ensuring those with a legitimate need to access firearms are able to do so.
It is illegal to have unregistered firearms in Australia. The amnesty allows those in possession of unregistered firearms or firearm-related items to hand these items in anonymously and without penalty. Police stations and licensed firearms dealers in most states and territories can receive unregistered or unwanted firearms. People may also surrender unwanted firearms.
If a person does not surrender an unregistered firearm and is found in possession of it, they may face criminal penalties, including imprisonment.
Examples of unregistered firearms include (but are not limited to):
- firearms that should have been registered or surrendered during the 1996-1997 buyback but were not
- firearms handed down to family members as part of deceased estates
- firearms possessed by people who do not have the appropriate type of licence.
Unregistered firearms carry great risk to the Australian community. It is proven that they can end up in the hands of people with criminal intent.
The last national firearms amnesty was held over a period of three months in 2017 and resulted in over 57,000 firearms being handed in across Australia. A permanent national firearms amnesty gives Australians another opportunity to improve community safety.
Arrangements for the surrender of firearms are being managed by individual states and territories.
While all states and territories allow for the surrender of any kind of firearm to a police station, some aspects of the amnesty differ between jurisdictions, including:
- whether you can surrender a firearm to a participating licensed firearms dealer
- how firearms will be dealt with upon surrender (registration, sale or destruction)
- which items can be surrendered (firearm parts, sound suppressors, magazines, ammunition, and non-firearm related items such as knuckledusters or bows).
For more information about the permanent national firearms amnesty arrangements in your state or territory please visit Crime Stoppers Australia.
The Attorney-General’s Department has published an annual report detailing key outcomes from the first year of the permanent national firearms amnesty. The report is available below: