Australia’s New Buyback Program Yields 51,000 Guns Destined for Destruction

Those found with unregistered guns face fines up to $280,000 and 14 years in jail. (Photo: Reuters)

Australia’s summer-long National Firearms Amnesty has ended, resulting in 51,000 firearms confiscated and destined for destruction. The amnesty ran from July 1 to the end of September as the second nationwide amnesty since 1996. Australians face fines up to $280,000 and 14 years in jail if discovered in possession of an unregistered firearm.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Reuters that the amnesty would prevent future mass-casualty events like the one seen recently in Las Vegas.

“Every single one of those 51,000 guns could be used, could have been used in a crime where Australians could be killed – now they can‘t,” Turnbull said. He added that the stockpile of weapons owned by the Las Vegas shooter would be impossible to acquire in Australia.

The amnesty’s final tally of surrendered firearms included some antiques, including a World War I-era Luger, Smith & Wesson 455 from World War II, and a mid-19th century Beaumont Adams revolver. Other items included a grenade from World War II and homemade sub-machine gun.

Media publications have hailed the Australia’s gun control efforts as a victory for public safety, with Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson arguing recently on NBC that the United States should consider implementing similar policies.

SEE ALSO: Gun Buybacks Are Waste of Time, No Evidence They Reduce Crime

Australian gun laws, which vary from state to state, place heavy restrictions on handgun ownership. Firearms can only be purchased by individuals with a license who prove that they are active hunters, active members of a local shooting club, competitive shooters, farmers, or collectors. Firearm safety courses are mandatory, and police are required to periodically inspect the homes of gun-owners to ensure that guns are properly stored.

But critics have long argued that buyback programs are ineffective, buying up a fractional number of firearms in circulation and that Australia’s strict regulations have merely bolstered a completely unregulated black market.

The Australian Institute of Criminology estimates that there are 3 million legally-registered firearms in the country.

New South Wales MP David Shoebridge recently questioned the amnesty effort, observing that his state is “on track to have a record 1 million registered firearms by 2020.”

Since enacting restrictive gun laws, Australia has fought against illegal gun-smuggling, including schemes that ship unregistered firearms into Australia via the mail. It is unknown how exactly how many guns have been brought into Australia illegally, but an investigative series by Australia’s NewDaily in 2015 uncovered police data indicating that New South Wales firearms charges rose by 83 percent from 2014 to 2015, compared to 2005 and 2006. Similar numbers were also evident in Victoria.

SEE ALSO: Big Lie Busted: Australia’s Gun Violence is Real and Rising…

Buyback programs are not isolated to Australia. They have been enacted in the United States on a local level. Seattle, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Fort Worth, and Dallas are among the cities that have all launched gun buyback efforts this year. Studies have shown that, as voluntarily removals, gun buybacks do not generally yield guns types that are commonly used in homicide or suicide.

Research by the Police Executive Research Forum (1996) showed “that those who are either using guns to carry out crimes or as protection in the course of engaging in other illegal activities, such as drug selling, have actively acquired their guns and are unlikely to want to participate in such programs.” Guns surrendered during buybacks are usually old and malfunctioned.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • David Welsh December 28, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Australian chumps. I’ll never go there. It is China under the cloak of “liberty.” The fines and jail time should be for the untrustworthy “leaders” there. If I lived thete, I would own what I wanted. The second amendment merely states the obvious for all people eberywhere.

  • Bob R. October 18, 2017, 11:42 am

    America was born by the use of guns and has defended itself through many wars with the use of guns. The founding fathers put the second amendment into the constitution for the express purpose of allowing the people to never fear it’s own government, such as all those countries that were taken over by dictators that removed all the guns from the people. Since cars, bombs, knives, poisons, blunt instruments and countless other forms of killing people vastly outnumbers those killed by firearms, it follows that people should be given the choice by popular vote to see if they choose to be without guns or not. Since America now has the most guns of any nation, it would be either too costly or far too difficult to remove that many firearms from a very reluctant nation of gun owners.

  • Dan October 15, 2017, 1:45 pm

    I’m an Aussie and a proud law abiding gun owner , I have a friend who owns a gun shop ,
    the majority of the firearms that I saw handed in were old ruined .22 bolt actions , busted air rifles and near dead 12 gauge single and double barrel shotguns.

    The Australian Govt’ likes to look like it is doing something , so it wastes taxpayers money and further punishes law abiding firearms owners.
    This amnesty has done nothing but made leftist politicians feel good about themselves & given ignorant city dwellers who don’t believe in gun ownership a false sense of security that they are somehow safer.

  • elgavilansegoviano October 14, 2017, 9:16 pm

    ….This Australian Lefty Liberal, some how think that by restricting the Australian People from owning Guns, they will end Crime and Evil in Human Nature!!,…..this people are just protecting themselves, since they always have their weapon carrying Body Guards…..

  • klem October 13, 2017, 8:33 pm

    51,000 guns surrendered in a country of 760,000 licensed gun owners and population of less than 1/10th the US is a big deal. Sure, they are not criminals handing them in. Most of then are old war trophies, family heirlooms, and clapped-out old guns that were once easily obtainable with less government controls. Sure, it’s a victimless offence to hang on to them while unlicensed but, at least now they can’t be used in an accident, or domestic violence or suicide or the occasional crime. Now that’s a good thing at least and I hear some have even been sent to museums. The guns you really want are in the hands of criminals, and they don’t hand them in during amnesties.

  • Matt October 13, 2017, 7:53 pm

    Seattle is not doing a buy back. I wish they were. I have some broken shitty guns I would love to sell for a hundred bucks. Then use the money to buy new guns.

  • DDayDog October 13, 2017, 7:04 pm

    Even if they did a buy back program with an amnesty in the USA, they would be lucky to get 50% of all the firearms out there. The media numbers estimate some 250 – 300 Million firearms in the USA. But that number is based a lot / in part on the call in center’s reporting of firearms purchased since it was instigated. They don’t take into account firearms sold over the last 250 years of the countries history. As we have been a nation of (many) gun owners for over 200 years now, some estimates put the real number of the total amount of firearms in the USA as high as 500 Million. So … they get 50% of those which leaves 250 Million still out there. Even if the true number of firearms owned in the USA is only 100 Million, that still leaves 50 Million firearms out there, etc. etc. The math is simple. No matter what they do, they will never get enough firearms out of the hands of Americans (legal or illegal) to prevent what happened in Las Vegas. Like the war on drugs has stopped the drugs from coming in … yeah, right. A war on guns will not stop guns from being bought and resold or stolen and resold or smuggled in the USA, etc.

    The Libs will justify their grabs by preying on your emotions and your feelings. “Well, wouldn’t you agree that if legislation existed which could have took even 1 of those AR15 out of circulation and that had stopped 1 of these poor people from dying, that the legislation would be worth it”. Well … sort of. As much as I would like to not see any innocent person hurt by a firearm, I wouldn’t agree that even taking 10 Million firearms off the street would’ve helped anything. It makes me / other gun owners sound cold and uncaring, but a facts a fact: Bad people with the intent of doing bad things will find a way to do bad things. That nutcase was reportedly a millionaire (at least at one time). He could’ve purchased tons (literally tons if he’d wanted to) of explosive materials (even just gasoline and / or propane for that matter), loaded it all into a semi or some other heavy duty vehicle and rammed the truck and trailer into the crowd of 22,000 persons and detonated it. Big body count and no gun needed. Now we need to hate trucks and gasoline and buy those back too.

  • Charles Kimberl October 13, 2017, 4:14 pm

    Aussies must be gutless to the max. This is pure bullshit.

    • Klem October 14, 2017, 3:17 am

      I am sure some of them are, but you fail to realise this is a reflection of a different culture, and to criticise the way another country works is ethnocentrism. In Oz there’s no 2A right to have a gun. It is a privilege not a right. There’s only 3% of the population with licensed firearms so they are very much at the whim of the rest of society. They have never had a civil war and so there’s no sense of suspicion of their government or the imperative to protect one’s family. All shooters, along with the rest of society believe there should be restrictions on firearm access, to mitigate the likelihood of a Las Vegas (or in Australia’s case, another Port Arthur, 1996). Firearms are only permitted for two reasons; animal husbandry and sporting competition, with no privilege to own them for self-defense. It seems to work. There is gun crime, but the streets are no less dangerous than US cities.

  • Larry October 13, 2017, 2:54 pm

    I remember a video of Bill Clinton watching a steamroller crush a huge pile of WW1 and WW2 military surplus rifles and pistols. There may have been some from earlier wars as well. Such waste is painful to watch when collectors are willing to pay for antique firearms.

  • JOHN T. FOX October 13, 2017, 12:14 pm


  • Barkus Rudis October 13, 2017, 10:56 am

    So, this proves that gun control does NOT work in Australia. I am to assume in Aussie that most of the guns were not registered. Where did they come from? They could all not have been grandfathered in. It shows that most were smuggled in, proving that if people want them, they can get them. Very low violent crime rate in Aussie. It the people stupid.

  • flintman50 October 13, 2017, 9:32 am

    Suggest that Andrew Rosenthal moves to Australia…….

  • Rinnwald October 13, 2017, 9:22 am

    Some day New South China is going to miss those guns.

  • SNAKEDOCTOR October 13, 2017, 8:43 am

    I went to Police buy back in Greensboro, NC a few years ago at a big church. Sat in the parking lot and offered to by ammo being turned in. Man with ammo reported me to the police inside. Poloce woman came outside and said ” we are not selling anything here today”. I said i didn’t say you were. She turned and went back inside. She knew she was Trumped on this one. True Story!!!

  • Gary MacNeill October 11, 2017, 8:35 am

    Hey Australia! Ship them over here we’ll take them.

    • Virus October 13, 2017, 10:49 am

      yeahhh….especially WWII guns i would like to get that Luger…

  • Dr Motown October 11, 2017, 7:57 am

    Hmmmm…none of those 51,000 guns was bothering anyone but the gun-grabbers

    • SNAKEDOCTOR October 13, 2017, 8:37 am

      If a Republican doesn’t want to buy a gun, he or she doesn’t. If a Democrat doesn’t want to buy a gun he doesn’t and wants legislation passed to take or regulate 🔫’s

  • Bobs yer uncle October 10, 2017, 9:01 pm

    Makes you want to root for the home team, don’t it? 14 years in prison?

  • Mark N. October 10, 2017, 7:57 pm

    a mandatory gun buy back in the Untied States–if the government paid “just compensation” as required by the Constitution, would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, assuming the current estimates of 400 million guns in circulation are accurate. Why do I think that the government will never authorize such a plan?

    • Hats are cool October 13, 2017, 4:19 am

      Of course they wouldn’t authorize it. I seem to remember a similar issue that was FAR more egregious with “property” that England merely just bought all of the “property”. This wasn’t even offered as a real option here in the US. I’m, of course, referring to slavery. As wrong as it was, the Constitution would have required them to do that if it had been done during legal course of action. Given that attempting to do the same would break the country, I wouldn’t WANT the money they offered. It won’t be worth the paper it is printed on soon enough.

  • SuperG October 10, 2017, 10:40 am

    And from another perspective, every single one of those 51,000 guns could be used, could have been used to prevent a crime where Australians could be killed – now they can‘t,”

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