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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Australia gun amnesty: 51,000 illegal firearms handed over

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia's tough gun laws severely limit the chances of a Las Vegas style mass shooting

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull looks at firearms handed in during a gun Amnesty in Australia. AAP/Joel Carrett / AAP via Reuters
Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull looks at firearms handed in during a gun Amnesty in Australia. AAP/Joel Carrett / AAP via 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 on Friday.

Mr Turnbull said Australia's tough gun ownership laws, which ban all semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic shotguns, severely limit 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," Mr Turnbull said in Sydney.

American Stephen Paddock, 64, was armed with multiple assault rifles and opened fired on an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas from a high-rise hotel window on Sunday, killing 58 people before shooting himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US 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 Tasmania in 1996.

The country has had no mass shootings since.

The three-month amnesty was the first in 20 years in Australia and the weapons collected will be destroyed.

Among them were 19th century guns, a homemade machine gun, a rocket launcher and a pistol small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, according to a government statement.

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