Australians hand over 51,000 illegal firearms in gun amnesty

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 05, 2017 10:27 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said about 51,000 illegal firearms, a fifth of all illegal guns in the country, were surrendered in a three-month amnesty ending Friday.

Turnbull said Australia's tough gun ownership laws, which ban all semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic shotguns, severely limits the chances of a Las Vegas style mass shooting.

"The killer there (in Las Vegas) had a collection of semi-automatic weapons which a person in his position would simply not be able to acquire in Australia," Turnbull told reporters in Sydney.

American Stephen Paddock, 64, armed with multiple assault rifles opened fired on an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas from a high-rise hotel window on Sunday, killing 58 people before killing himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The shooting has focused attention on gun ownership rules in the United States.

Australia's tough gun ownership laws were introduced after the massacre of 35 people by a lone gunman at the former prison colony of Port Arthur in the island state of Tasmania in 1996

The country has had no mass shootings since.

The illegal weapons surrendered during the three-month gun amnesty, the first in 20 years, will be destroyed.

(Reporting by Colin Packham and Tom Westbrook in SYDNEY; Editing by Michael Perry)