Australia to hold first nationwide gun amnesty in 21 years

It's the first nation-wide gun amnesty since the devastating 1996 Port Arthur Massacre.

Fears of terrorism and an influx of illegal guns prompted Australia today to announce the first national firearms amnesty since 35 people were killed in a mass shooting 20 years ago.

Three involved illegal guns and two involved knives.

"The fact (is), we've got a deteriorating national security environment", Mr Keenan told ABC radio.

Keenan said the government hoped this national gun amnesty would bring the same successful results as state-based amnesty, which have led to the hand-in of thousands of un-registered weapons.

"We have seen, through terror attacks in Australia, that illegal guns have been used".

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the firearms amnesty was due to begin on July 1.

Australian police talk outside a bar as they investigate whether live firearms were used in the filming of a music video during which an actor was fatally wounded in the chest in Brisbane January 23, 2017.

"We know that we've got a big illicit firearm market in Australia, 260,000 illicit guns we believe are out there", he said.

He said illegal guns were used in the Lindt cafe siege and the death of police accountant Curtis Cheng in Sydney, as well as being used in organised crime.

"So we want to give people an opportunity to hand in their guns, no questions asked, no repercussions".

"It might be a family heirloom, it could be the family member who owned it has died for example and the family just doesn't know what to do with it".

Mr Keenan said the amnesty would allow people to hand in guns with no questions asked.

"One illicit firearm can be very, very unsafe and the less illicit firearms we have in the community, the safer our community is going to be", he said.

Senior Labor MP Anthony Albanese also encouraged people to "do the right thing" and turn guns in.

Gunman Martin Bryant is serving 35 life sentences for the murders.

  • Leroy Wright