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'There will be zero tolerance': Police begin firearm audits

HAND IN UNWANTED GUNS: Laidley Senior Constable Mark Low with  guns surrendered under the amnesty.
HAND IN UNWANTED GUNS: Laidley Senior Constable Mark Low with guns surrendered under the amnesty. Francis Witsenhuysen

LICENSED firearm holders in the region can expect to be randomly audited by police in the coming months.

The audits are confirmed to begin in the Laidley Policing division and will continue across most of the Lockyer Valley.

Laidley Police Senior Sergeant Matthew Howard said the audits were not a direct result of the tragic death of Senior Constable Brett Forte, but part of a state-wide crackdown against crime.

"Firearm theft is an ongoing concern for Queensland police so we are doing the audits to make sure people are securing all weapons properly," he said.

"If a safe is unlocked or insecure then it's a breach of the weapons regulations and there will be zero tolerance."

The audits will see officers attending properties and door-knocking houses, with any found breach resulting in strict penalties being enforced.

"Any offences being committed or breaches of the Weapons Act will potentially see that person being charged and facing court," Snr Sgt Howard said.

"Most licence holders would be doing the right thing, it's the smaller more relaxed per cent we need to check.

"We want them to lock the safe, double lock it, check it and make sure it can't be moved.

"They need to be doing the right thing for the safety of the community. If a house gets broken into and the firearms aren't secure and are stolen, that means more firearms out on the streets."

Snr Sgt Howard reminded anyone with unwanted firearms of the current national gun amnesty, which allows people to hand in their weapons anonymously until September 30.

"Now is the perfect time to get rid of any unwanted firearms before they get audited," he said.

The three-month gun amnesty allows anyone including licence holders to register or surrender unregistered firearms to a firearms dealer or police station without fear of prosecution. The costs of registering a firearm will also be waived for anyone wishing to register unregistered firearms.

In Queensland, there are four options available regarding the surrendering or registering unregistered firearms in their possession. 

  • Registering the firearm to an existing firearms licence (subject to the categories and conditions of the licence).
  • Surrendering the firearm at a firearms dealer for commercial sale.
  • Surrendering a firearm at a firearms dealer or police station for safekeeping, pending the issue of a firearms licence.
  • Surrendering a firearm at a firearms dealer or police station for destruction.

For more information head to www.police.qld.gov.au/programs/weaponslicensing/

Apply for a permit to acquire a weapon at https://www.police.qld.gov.au/programs/weaponsLicensing/applyOnline/

Alternatively, you can download an application for a Permit to Acquire (Form 28) or by visiting your local Queensland police station. Each weapon requires a separate application for a permit to acquire.

Topics:  firearm audits firearms gun amnesty lockyer valley qps rural areas


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