Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday said his government has collected more than 50,000 illegal guns during the three-month national firearms amnesty, Reuters reported.
According to Australia’s gun ownership laws, all semi-automatic rifles and automatic shotguns are banned. These tough laws severely hamper the chances of an incident like the shooting in Las Vegas in the United States, Turnbull said. “The killer there [in Las Vegas] had a collection of semi-automatic weapons, which a person in his position would simply not be able to acquire in Australia,” Turnbull said in Sydney.
Sixty four-year-old Stephen Paddock gunned down 59 people in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, before killing himself on October 2. Over 500 people were injured. The police had found 23 firearms at the attacker’s hotel suite and 19 at his home in Mesquite
The guns that were surrendered in Australia will now be destroyed, Turnbull added. Australia’s tough laws on firearms were set up after 35 people were killed by one gunman in Tasmania in 1996. There have been no mass shootings in the country since.
The amnesty allowed people to surrender their unregistered firearms with no questions asked, AFP reported. Australians otherwise face fines of up to $2,80,000 (approximately Rs 1.4 crore) or 14 years in jail for illegally possessing guns. A wide range of guns, dating from pre-1900 weapons and guns from World War I and World War II to modern semi-automatics, and a rocket launcher were surrendered, the report added.
Turnbull added that there are still an estimated 2,60,000 unregistered guns that have not been accounted for.