Police appeal for gun owners to hand them in during firearms amnesty

Some of the firearms recovered by Devon and Cornwall Police during the amnesty.

Weapons handed in to Devon and Cornwall Police during a previous firearms amnesty - Credit: Archant

Devon and Cornwall Police are appealing for people to hand in unwanted guns and ammunition during a two-week firearms amnesty, aimed at getting potentially dangerous weapons out of circulation. 

The surrender period started on Thursday, May 12 and runs until Sunday, May 29. 

During that period, those handing in firearms will not face prosecution for the illegal possession and can remain anonymous. 

Weapons and ammunition must be taken to a police station and handed over in person at the enquiry desk – not left outside. The nearest participating police station for East Devon is in Exeter. 

A police spokesperson said: “Many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality, or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes.  

“Examples of this are shotguns or rifles for which the licence has expired or perhaps handguns brought back into the country from the First and Second World War, or other items acquired as collectibles. 

“The surrender, organised by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NaBIS), gives people the chance to dispose of firearms or ammunition by simply taking them to a participating local police station and handing them over anonymously at the point of surrender. All firearms will be examined for evidence of criminality. 

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“Surrendering unwanted, unlicensed weapons avoids the risk of them becoming involved in criminality and means that members of the community can dispose of firearms in a safe place.  

“It is important to remember that in past surrenders, the majority of items surrendered were not in circulation for criminal use, and this surrender period removes the possibility that they could be acquired and distributed by criminal networks to harm, threaten and intimidate local communities.” 

Police would also like people to hand in replica firearms that look like the real thing. 

The last firearms amnesty in August 2019 resulted in 119 firearms of various types being handed in. The weapons are completely destroyed by being cut into unusable pieces, with metal pieces eventually being recycled. A small number of unusual items may be retained by police force armourers under secure conditions for future training and reference purposes. Nothing will be sold on and nor will the original holders be given any payment.