New campaign launched to report illegal firearm activity

QUEENSLAND'S top cop was shocked to see 8500 illegal firearms handed in around the state as part of a gun amnesty scheduled to end on Tuesday night.

But Police Commissioner Ian Stewart believes unregistered firearms are still on the street, prompting a new Crime Stoppers campaign encouraging Queenslanders to anonymously report illegal firearm activity.

The anti-illegal firearm campaign, titled 1,2,3, comes as a three-month amnesty comes to a close on Tuesday night.

Tough new laws and mandatory sentencing for illegal gun ownership will come into effect on May 1.

The amnesty saw an average of 99 guns a day being handed in across the state.

Commissioner Stewart said 8573 firearms had been received in total, including three stolen weapons and 218 semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. He said he was "shocked" to have such a volume.

Of all the firearms police received, 75% had been registered and would be returned to their owners while the rest had been surrendered and would be destroyed.

Asked whether gun trafficking was an issue in Queensland, Commissioner Stewart said police had identified individuals of interest.

"But I am hopeful the information that might come available to us through the Crime Stoppers campaign might give us even more of an idea who potentially some of these people are who are involved in actually trafficking quantities of illegal firearms," he said.

Once the amnesty period lapses, illegal firearms possession in a public place will attract a mandatory one-year jail term while those convicted of trafficking illegal firearms will face a mandatory five years behind bars.

Crime Stoppers Queensland chief executive officer Trevor O'Hara said criminals and illegal firearm owners have had their chance to make things right.

"So with the end of the amnesty only a day away and 8500 weapons having been removed from the street, it's our turn to use the trusted Crime Stoppers anonymous service to have the community pick up the phone and report whatever they know about illegal firearms..." he said.

"8500 does actually give us an indication though of the scale of the weapons that are out there in the community.

"So there is many more we need to get our hands on and clear them up off the streets."

Mr O'Hara said Crime Stoppers was not chasing the legitimate "mums and dads and farmers who have weapons for personal reasons".

"We are actually reminding them though if they are not securing those weapons properly they can be stolen as a result of a break and enter and be used by criminals in the commission of a crime," he said.