Australia’s first gun amnesty in 20 years begins

The Australian government believes there are around 260,000 illegal weapons on the country's streets.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The amnesty period will run from July 1 until September 30, 2017.

Fears of terrorism and an influx of illegal guns have prompted Australia to announce the first national firearms amnesty since 35 people were killed during the Port Arthur massacre 20 years ago.

Australian authorities believe there are as many as 260,000 illicit weapons on the streets, and with the threat of extremist attacks and a spate of gangland shootings, it wants to minimise the danger.

The amnesty will run from July 1 until September 30, allowing people to hand in unregistered or unwanted firearms with no questions asked.

Outside that period people face fines of up to $212,000 or 14 years in jail.

But some critics say the scheme fails to target the criminals.

TRT World's Gwenfair Griffith has the story from Sydney.

TRTWorld and agencies