VICTORIA Police is encouraging people to hand over their unwanted or unregistered weapons as a state-wide firearm amnesty reaches its midway point.
The amnesty is taking place in Hindmarsh, Horsham, West Wimmera, Ararat, Northern Grampians and Yarriambiack municipalities.
This is the first amnesty in Victoria since 2017's national amnesty.
More than 57,000 weapons were collected across the country, while about 3400 items were collected in the western Victoria region.
Western region division four firearms officer Senior Constable Max Mudge said residents had been responsive to the amnesty.
"The response has been good; people are handing items into police stations and licenced firearm dealers in the region but it hasn't been quite on par with the national amnesty in 2017," he said.
"We've had a lot of firearms handed in during this amnesty which have no monetary value and the owner simply doesn't have a use for it. It's a great, hassle-free way to have it disposed of.
"It's a great opportunity for members of the public to do their part in improving community safety.
"At the end of the day all firearms are dangerous, but it's the unregistered ones which concern us because we don't know where they are and that makes them desirable to criminal activity.
"Firearm thefts predominantly occur in rural locations and we don't need any firearms making their way into the hands of unsavory characters."
People are able to surrender any type of weapon, including registered firearms, unregistered firearms, damaged firearms, swords, knives and ordnances.
"Unexploded ordnances can be surrendered, but we would need a phone call prior so people can get advice from us on how to deal with it. We might need to call the explosives unit or the army for further advice," Senior Constable Mudge said.
"That has happened in the past where old collectors items have been found in sheds. We also have a lot of weapons handed in from deceased estates."
He said items could be handed into any Wimmera police station or licenced firearms dealer.
"People need to call the police station or firearms dealer to make an appointment and explain what they're bringing in," he said.
"The items need to be wrapped in a bag, cloth or plastic, and transported in a safe and secure manner."
The amnesty will end on December 31. Senior Constable Mudge said police always encouraged people to surrender their weapons if they wished.
"If someone is licenced to carry a firearm, they can certainly make an application through a firearms dealer to have their items surrendered," he said.
Last month Wimmera Superintendent Paul Margetts said there were more than 856,000 registered firearms across the state.
"Rural and regional property owners are at risk of firearm theft because of geographic isolation and extended absences from properties where firearms are stored," he said.
"The majority of registered firearm owners are very responsible and treat firearms ownership with the seriousness that it deserves. License holders are required to use common sense to store their firearms safely and securely and in accordance with legislative requirements at all times."
The penalty for possessing an unregistered firearm starts from $19,800 or two years imprisonment.
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