By Dean Weingarten
Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Australia is undergoing a gun “amnesty”, the first general one since 1996, when some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world were imposed on Australia.
The federal guidelines were fast tracked by the hoplophobic Prime Minister, John Howard, with substantial aid by the anti-gun Australian media, during the emotional effect of the Port Arthur massacre.
Since being declared a month ago, 1700 rifles, 460 shotguns and nearly 200 handguns have been surrendered and thousands more firearms submitted for registration.
Surrendered items include four SKS assault rifles, a 9mm homemade sub-machine gun, a Colt AR-15 rifle, M1 carbine, a .44 calibre Magnum revolver, and a Leader Dynamics T2 MK5 assault rifle.
Police have also received more than 110 prohibited weapons including samurai swords, knives, knuckle-dusters and other edged weapons, Forensic Services detective chief inspector Wayne Hoffman told media on Tuesday.
This firearms amnesty differs in significant ways from the mandatory turn-in during 1996. In that turn-in, people were required to turn in the guns, and were paid for them.
In this amnesty, there is no government compensation for turned in guns. People can have the guns sent to a gun dealer to be sold, or they can register them if they already have the appropriate license. The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party can be thanked for that bit of sanity.
A week ago, I talked to an employee of Tamworth Firearms, one of the biggest gun stores in Australia. I asked about the amnesty, and how it was going. He said that under a hundred guns had been turned in at the store.
Most had been registered with someone who already had a license. All were common rifles and shotguns. There were no high dollar items. The shop charges 20 dollars to register the guns. If the person registering them already has a license, they can leave with their newly registered gun in a few minutes.
On the 9th of August, I stopped at the Tamworth shop. A policeman was there delivering a shotgun to be registered. It was a very nice French 16 gauge side by side. The police officer simply described it as an “old French shotgun”. On further questioning, he said it was a 16 gauge double barrel, side by side.
One of shop personnel allowed me to look. Double triggers, internal hammers, solid rib. Simply lovely. It was made by Henri Gaymu in Paris, probably about 1900. Scroll engraving covered the receiver. Many French records were destroyed in WWII. Gaymu was a well known manufacturer of quality guns. Any other information on Gaymu shotguns would be appreciated.
About 6400 guns have been turned in or registered in New South Wales so far. The article from AAP says that almost 2,360 firearms were turned in. That means that over 4 thousand unregistered guns have been registered under this amnesty.
Samurai swords are listed as prohibited weapons. There are many replicas on the market. Australia was heavily involved in the Pacific island fighting. It is likely that one of the swords turned is a WWII bringback. Some of them are worth tens of thousands of dollars.
I hope that someone with a sense of history is looking at the items turned in.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.