6 February 2024

Illegal firearms and weapons removed from Canberra's streets, shredded in Mitchell

| Claire Fenwicke
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Police officer holding rifle

Inspector Dennis Gellatly said many surrendered and seized weapons, while they may look like firearms, were actually gel blasters. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

It cost about $650,000 and cuts through weapons like butter – now ACT Policing’s ‘firearms shredder’ is back in operation.

The machine has been out of action but was fired up recently to destroy more than 130 firearms and prohibited weapons from the vault.

A vast majority had been surrendered to ACT Policing under the National Firearms Amnesty, with the remainder seized by officers.

ACT Policing Inspector Dennis Gellatly said more than 620 weapons had been handed in to Canberra police stations since the ongoing amnesty began in 2021.

“Surrendering a firearm [or prohibited weapon] is something that has been made a permanent feature across the national landscape,” he said.

“Potentially it’s for deceased estates or for people who no longer wish to participate in sports shooting or other firearms activity.”

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The weapons chewed up recently included rifles, handguns, gel blasters, swords, tasers, knives, batons, crossbows and replica firearms.

The extremely realistic-looking gel blasters are of particular concern.

While they can be used for sport, similar to paintball guns, they are illegal in the ACT and are often seen during aggravated burglaries where a threatened person may not realise it’s not a real firearm.

“I would remind the public that, in the ACT and surrounding areas, gel blasters are illegal. They can be bought online, but we suggest not doing that,” Insp Gellalty said.

“Removing these weapons from the community means they can’t be used for criminal activity such as aggravated burglaries or violent assaults.”

If you do have some unregistered, unwanted or illicit firearms or weapons you want to get rid of, you can do so without ramifications under the permanent National Firearms Amnesty.

Just make sure you ring ahead of time so officers are prepared.

“Don’t just bring it in to the police station unwrapped or uncovered, obviously that can cause some public alarm,” Insp Gellatly advised.

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The AFP’s Firearms Registry can be reached on (02) 5162 9076 or at [email protected].

People who have information about illegal firearms in the community are advised to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Information can be provided anonymously.

Original Article published by Claire Fenwicke on Riotact.

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