Australia Reveals More Than 250,000 Illegal Guns Exist, Calls for Gun Amnesty

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It’s been 20 since Australia announced tight restrictions on gun ownership. Now, in the wake of a failed gun buyback program, the nation has admitted that more than a quarter of a million guns exist in the country that were never legally registered.

As a result, the nation has announced an amnesty in hopes that gun owners will part with their weapons.

“The amnesty will provide an opportunity for those individuals who, for whatever reason are in possession of an unregistered firearm, to hand it in without fear of being prosecuted,” Justice Minister Michael Keenan told reporters in Melbourne.

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“While Australia has some of the strongest firearm controls in the world, illicit firearms remain the weapon of choice for criminals,” he added.

Turnbull also noted that illegal guns remain his concern.

“The threat of illegal firearms is a threat to the safety of every Australian. The vast majority of gun crimes, the vast majority, over 90 percent, are committed with illegal weapons,” he said.

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The failure of the Australian policy has been years in the making.

“There is little evidence to suggest that (the Australian mandatory gun-buyback program) had any significant effects on firearm homicides,” University of Melbourne researchers Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Suardi wrote in 2008.

“Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears, the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths,” they added.

Australian officials have noted that many citizens did not surrender guns that were legally purchased or brought into the country legally.

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“While forced buybacks under the threat of prosecution for failure to turn in firearms are favored by Liberals in Australia and radical progressive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the United States, the fact of the matter is that most people have simply chosen to ignore the law, as it violates the core human right to armed self-defense,” wrote Bob Owens on BearingArms.com.

“All the law has done in Australia is to turn otherwise law-abiding but non-compliant citizens into criminals in the eyes of the law, while having very little effect on crime at all,” he added.

“Gun control and democracy cannot coexist,” he added. “Free peoples want to be armed.”

Australia introduced its gun legislation in 1996 after a mass shooting in which 35 people were shot by a lone gunman.

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