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Police across Australia are today launching a co-ordinated campaign against criminals with illicit firearms.  This campaign aims to get illicit firearms out of the hands of criminals.

Chair of the ANZPAA Crime Forum and Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner – Crime Stephen Fontana said that during the last joint nationwide operation police seized 110 illicit firearms from criminals.

“Each of these guns could have potentially been used to seriously hurt or kill innocent victims. Guns are a menace within the community. It’s time we each took responsibility for getting them out of the hands of criminals',” says Assistant Commissioner Fontana.

Acting Assistant Commissioner David Proctor, Crime and Specialist Services said the Northern Territory Police Force were keen to once again engage Territorians in helping to get illegal guns off our streets.

“Assistance from the public is vital in helping us crack down on illegal guns. The community as whole do not want criminals having access to illegal guns. If you know someone or have heard of someone with an illegal gun, by providing anonymous information to Crime Stoppers, you will be helping us to get illicit firearms off the streets,” said Acting Assistant Commissioner Proctor.

“Evidence shows that illicit firearms are mostly used in serious and violent crimes against innocent victims. Public co-operation is critical to the operation's success – even the smallest piece of information is invaluable,” says Bryan Roach, Chairman of Crime Stoppers Australia.

“The majority of illicit firearms used to commit serious crimes are stolen. We are not focusing on legitimate firearm owners. We just ask that they review their security arrangements to reduce the risk of theft,” said Assistant Commissioner Fontana.

Firearm theft is still the major source of illicit firearm trades. In 2012, the Australian Institute of Criminology stated there were around 1545 firearms reported stolen each year across the country and, of those, only about 10 per cent were recovered.

“Firearms that are not stored securely are at risk of being stolen and falling into the hands of criminals. If you have any information about illicit firearms, speak up and help us get these weapons off the streets,” concluded Acting Assistant Commissioner Proctor.

This joint nationwide crackdown on illicit firearms by police, supported by Crime Stoppers and led by the ANZPAA Crime Forum is being run from 16–29 June 2014 across all State and Territories in Australia. It is part of a broader range of measures by police in their response to tackling illicit firearms activity across Australia.