Flood of firearms in amnesty

A WORLD War II Japanese service  pistol that  a Digger smuggled into Australia, hidden in his bandages, was among 77 firearms surrendered to police at Devonport yesterday.

Sergeant Peter May, overseeing the mobile firearms amnesty station at the Devonport Showgrounds, said the Japanese pistol came from Papua New Guinea and might be historically significant.

The Western Police District mobile firearms amnesty continues today at the Burnie Showgrounds from 9am to 5pm.

Yesterday's haul follows mobile firearms amnesties in Launceston and Hobart last year, which netted almost 300 unwanted firearms.

Police urge people with unwanted firearms or ammunition to surrender them at Burnie today, or to any police station in Tasmania, without fear of prosecution because of the state's permanent firearms amnesty.

Sergeant May said the amount handed in at Devonport was promising.

Surrendered firearms included a sawn-off shotgun, .303 calibre rifles, a fully automatic SKS assault rifle with a bayonet attached, and assorted shotguns, air rifles and .22 calibre rifles.

Sergeant May estimated that only half a dozen of the firearms were registered.

Chris Bird, of Devonport, surrendered an old .22 calibre rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun.

He said the rifle, which had no firing pin, had belonged to his deceased grandfather and had been displayed as an ornament.

The 12-gauge shotgun had probably belonged to his partner's grandfather and had been in the back of a cupboard for as long as anyone could remember, he said.

``There's no point in having some old relic sitting around which you could be fined for having,'' Mr Bird said.

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