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Australia recovers 50,000 illegal weapons in gun amnesty

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the amnesty and the country's tough gun controls help prevent a Las Vegas-style massacre.

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Australia recovers 50,000 illegal weapons in gun amnesty

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More than 50,000 firearms are to be destroyed after being handed in under a three-month national amnesty in Australia.

They included a rocket launcher, semi-automatic guns as well as weapons from both World Wars and even the 19th century. Almost half were surrendered in New South Wales.

Australia introduced tough gun ownership laws over 20 years ago, banning all semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic shotguns. It followed a mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996, when a lone gunman killed 35 people in Port Arthur.

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the restrictions limit the chances of a Las Vegas-style massacre.

Surveying some of the weapons recently recovered, he added that the amnesty – which ended on Friday – had also helped keep people safe.

“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. They’ve been collected and will now be destroyed,” the prime minister said.

It’s estimated that the weapons handed in represent about a fifth of all illegal guns – thought to number over a quarter of a million – still unaccounted for in the country.

A national review of gun control measures found that all Australian states were failing to apply restrictions, undermining the strict national laws.

with Reuters