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We all play a role in keeping our communities safe. This responsibility includes helping to reduce the number of illegal firearms in our neighbourhoods, as gun-related violence threatens our most fundamental human right-the right to live safely and without fear of harm. To help protect this right, Crime Stoppers South Australia is putting its support behind a national effort to reduce the number of illegal firearms in the community.
In support of the Australian Government's recently launched permanent national firearms amnesty, Crime Stoppers is asking South Australians to share what they know about illegal guns and encourage anyone who has one to safely surrender it without penalty. If you have an unwanted or unregistered firearm, ammunition or accessory, you can hand it in without the need to say who you are, how you came to have it and without penalty.
With an estimated 260,000 unregistered guns across the nation, Crime Stoppers South Australia CEO Nigel Smart believes all members of our community should think about how they would feel if they stayed silent about a firearm that was then used to cause harm.
"South Australia is certainly not immune from the devastating impacts that come with having illegal firearms in the hands of criminals. We have seen the tragic loss of life and severe injuries that occur when people turn a blind eye and allow illegal firearms to remain in the community," Mr Smart said.
Anyone can be affected by firearm violence, which is one of the reasons why the Federal Government has partnered with Crime Stoppers Australia for this year's National Illicit Firearms Campaign. Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the Federal Government was committed to keeping Australians safe by stamping out gun violence in our communities.
"Illegal guns are more likely to be used in crime, more likely to be defective or insecurely stored, and more likely to be involved in accidents. There is no excuse - indeed no legitimate reason - for anyone in Australia to have an illicit firearm," Minister Andrews said.
For the next three months, a range of community events in both regional and metropolitan communities will engage and encourage individuals to share what they know about illegal guns. These events will also provide an opportunity to explain how to safely surrender any illegal or unwanted firearms to police or a participating firearms dealer.
"If you suspect that someone has an illegal gun, share what you know with Crime Stoppers before it is too late. Report it safely without the need to say who you are, get involved, or put yourself at risk of harm," Mr Smart said.
According to global statistics on gun-related incidents, the majority of victims and perpetrators are young men, but women are particularly at risk of firearms violence perpetrated by an intimate partner. Each person who hands in an illegal firearm, or who speaks up about one, helps to keep their community safer.
Under the conditions of Australia's permanent national firearms amnesty, individuals who have unregistered firearms, or firearm-related items, can surrender them to a police station, or participating firearms dealer, anonymously and without penalty for registration, sale or destruction. If someone is caught with an unregistered or illegal firearm outside of amnesty conditions they face the prospect of a significant fine, imprisonment and a criminal record.
All around the world, gun violence causes a range of health issues throughout affected communities, contributing to both physical and psychological stress. By working together to reduce the weapons that do harm by surrendering them to authorities, communities can help to build healthier, stronger, and safer futures.
If you'd like to share information about an unregistered or illegal firearm, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. You can also submit a confidential tip online by visiting www.crimestopperssa.com.au