Aussie Solution to Terrorism: Turn in Guns
Officials feel a firearm amnesty program will help protect the populace from terrorists.
The Australian government has a really interesting plan that they say will help keep a quarter million guns out of the hands of terrorists: a big gun buyback program, without the buying part.
According to this story from CNN.com, the nation has announced a three-month gun amnesty period beginning July 1 during which owners of an estimated 260,000 illegal, unregistered firearms will be able to turn them in to authorities for destruction with no fear of punishment, and no compensation.
The reason is the recent terrorist attacks on innocent unarmed people by gunmen. Apparently the solution in Australia is to disarm even more innocent people.
“As recent events have shown us, just one gun in the wrong hands can be deadly,” Justice Minister Michael Keenan said in the story. “Now is the time to run another amnesty, with the aim of reducing this pool of illegal guns.”
Even though nearly all firearms are banned from civilian ownership, and those that are permitted are heavily regulated and must be registered in Australia, there have been a number of gun attacks including a deadly shooting in Melbourne earlier this month and the 2014 Sydney cafe siege which left two dead.
Under the law, anyone caught with an unregistered firearm faced a potential $212,000 (US) fine and up to 14 years in prison.
The move is the first major gun amnesty since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, during which 35 people were killed. The event spurred the development of the country’s infamously strict gun laws, and mandatory registration and surrender of firearms by citizens.
According to the story, the Australian government “bought back and destroyed more than one million firearms.”
In 2003 there as a second compulsory buyback when handgun laws were tightened and more guns became illegal.
According to recent reports, despite the country’s laws, there has been an average of one shooting per week in Melbourne and black market guns are regularly smuggled into the country by criminals, who are increasingly well armed.