Wiltshire Police is holding a two week firearms surrender from 8am on Saturday 5 September until 9pm on Sunday 20 September.
The force is appealing for people to surrender unlicensed or unwanted firearms and ammunition.
Firearms legislation changed last July and many firearms may be held in innocence of their illegality or may be overlooked or forgotten in people’s homes.
The laws around antique firearms were tightened which mean that someone who has served or received a criminal sentence can no longer possess an antique firearm. The sentencing guidelines for possession for sale or transfer of an unauthorised firearm or ammunition were also raised and this offence now carries a maximum penalty of life.
Licence holders are encouraged to use this surrender as a means of surrendering any firearm they may no longer have a use for. Inspector Steve McGrath said: “Wiltshire is a safe county in which to live and gun crime in the UK has continued to fall year on year for the last ten years. We are not complacent about gun crime however, which is why we are conducting a two week surrender as we want as many firearms as possible to be handed in. “In previous campaigns across the country there have been various firearms handed in including antique guns, air weapons, rifles, shotguns.” To surrender a firearm, people need to call Wiltshire Police on 101.
An appointment will then be made so that the firearm can be collected from the property. Dedicated units will be on hand during the two week period to collect surrendered firearms and appointments will be made at the earliest opportunity. The surrender does not provide immunity from prosecution for the life of a firearm. This surrender is intended to provide an amnesty for possession of the firearm at the point of surrender/handover to a lawful authority. Wiltshire Police is committed to robustly investigating serious crime and protecting the public.
The firearms surrender removes guns from the streets, but does not prevent the police from investigating the background to any of the firearms handed in. Where there is evidence to follow up a prosecution the police will continue to do so. If you know of people involved in illegal firearms activity call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Every call to Crimestoppers is anonymous and potentially vital to preventing or solving serious crimes; removing an illegally held firearm may just save someone’s life.