Update: The National Firearms Amnesty 2017 figures show more than 50,000 guns were handed in over the three month campaign.
‘Now’s The Time’ campaign on target as 12,500 guns surrendered in National Firearms Amnesty
Thousands of Australian households will be sleeping easier tonight thanks to a big response to the Federal Government’s 2017 National Firearms Amnesty (NFA).
At the half-way mark of the three-month campaign, over 12,500 unregistered firearms have been surrendered to police or a licensed firearms dealer.
The campaign has attracted international awareness, with the New York Times recently publishing early results of the 2017 Australian amnesty, offering a stark counterpoint for firearm-owning US citizens.
Using the theme ‘Now’s the Time’, the integrated behavior change campaign focused on positively engaging communities about the benefits of handing in unregistered firearms.
In May 2017, as part of a joint Australian, state and territory government initiative, the Attorney-General’s Department tasked Icon Agency with creating a high-profile, strategy-led campaign to raise awareness of the amnesty and ultimately decrease the number of unregistered firearms in Australia.
Developed by Icon’s creative team, the campaign focused on overcoming inertia among owners of illegal firearms through an appeal to community.
“The key to the success of the ‘Now’s The Time’ campaign has been its no-nonsense ‘circuit breaker’ approach,” explains Icon’s MD Joanne Painter. “The campaign challenges the complacency that often goes hand-in-hand with unregistered firearm ownership.
According to Joanne, the team based their insights on research which indicated that for many the primary reason for owning an unregistered firearm was inertia.
“Given that owners were already in possession of anperiod and the need to act quickly,” Joanne said.
The suite of collateral produced by Icon’s creative studio has concise, direct call-to-action with a strong sense of urgency. Audiences are urged to understand ‘It’s now or never. I have three months to sort out that gun.’ ‘Handing it in seems easy enough, but I need to act now to avoid a penalty.”
“Through our insight and expertise in driving behaviour change we also developed positive messaging that focused on the benefits of the amnesty rather than the risks inherent with possessing an unregistered firearm. ‘Your community will thank you’ and ‘Have a hand in making your community safer’ give people further compelling reasons to do what they know is right,” Joanne said.
Just six weeks in, the campaign has exceeded expectations.
According to the Federal Minister of Justice, Michael Keenan, more than 12,500 unregistered firearms have been surrendered. The largest response so far has come from New South Wales, with 6,400 firearms surrendered. NSW Police has also reported 110 prohibited weapons, including samurai swords, knives and other edged weapons. Victoria Police has confirmed 751 deposits, with the majority being long guns/rifles.
This amnesty runs until 30th September 2017. For further information on the Amnesty or details of how to register or hand-in an unregistered firearm please call 1800 909 826 or visit firearmsamnesty.ag.gov.au. Penalties apply after 30th September 2017. Fines up to $280,000 apply.