8,000 guns taken off streets during gun amnesty

Around 8,000 guns have been handed in to police during the first half of the month-long national firearms amnesty.

In the first week, 3,775 firearms were handed in, including 563 handguns, along with 71,000 rounds of ammunition. The police estimate that they have received around the same number in the second week – including a rocket launcher which was handed in at a station in the West Midlands.

The amnesty bid to rid the streets of illegal guns runs out on April 30 and gives people the opportunity to hand in illegal or unwanted firearms now without facing prosecution for their possession.

Mr Blunkett said: "Gun crime blights our society. It can ruin lives, especially young lives, and tear apart communities. I have made it clear that the government will not sit back and allow a small minority of misguided individuals to spread fear and violence in their communities."

Deputy Chief Constable Alan Green from Greater Manchester Police, chair of the ACPO group on Criminal Use of Firearms, said it had been a "very encouraging start".

"However, we know there are still plenty more illegally-held weapons out there and I urge anyone in possession of one, or who knows of someone who is, to take this opportunity to get rid of them," he said.

The government intends to introduce a new five-year mandatory minimum sentence for illegal possession of a prohibited firearm. Other planned legislation will seek to make it an offence to carry imitation guns and air weapons in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.


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