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Australian firearms buyback reaches 500,000 mark

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MINISTER FOR JUSTICE - T h e H o n . D a r y l W i l l i a m s a m q c m p ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

18 August 1997 325

A U ST R A L IA N F IR E A R M S B U Y B A C K R E A C H E S 500.000 M A R K

Another significant milestone in Australia’s new approach to firearms will be reached this week with the number of weapons handed in to the Australian Firearms Buyback reaching the 500,000* mark.

The fact that firearms owners have handed in half a million firearms is a tribute to the common sense and decency of law-abiding firearms owners and it should be a source of national pride.

Reaching the 500,000 mark shows the buyback has been a success and it is also a timely reminder that the buyback will end soon.

The buyback ends on September 30** and there will be no extension. After that time people will not have the opportunity to be compensated for handing in prohibited firearms and the State and Territory enforcement, registration and licensing schemes will come into force.

It is clear that the overwhelming result of the National Firearms Agreement and the amnesty and buyback is a positive one for our nation.

Since May 10, 1996, each State and Territory has instituted the most comprehensive firearms laws in Australia’s history and those laws have not only given affect to the buyback but they have ensured an on-going licensing and registration system providing appropriate checks on the ownership and use of weapons in the community.

Governments have banned military-style weapons and introduced registration systems for all firearms, a requirement that people establish a genuine reason to own or possess or use a firearm, a 28 day waiting period when seeking a firearms permit, a requirement that all first-time applicants undertake training, agreed grounds for the refusal and cancellation of firearms licences, regulation of mail order and transport of

firearms and minimum standards for security and storage of firearms.

* As of today, 498, 799 firearms had been handed in and $256,785,421 paid in compensation. ** Except in South Australia where the buyback ended on February 28 and the amnesty ended on June 30.

M edia contact: Nicholas Harford Website (06) 277 7300 http//