198 illegal firearms handed in as Gun Amnesty ends in Samoa

Samoa Police have collected a total of 198 illegal firearms from the local communities after a successful 4-month long “ask no questions” gun amnesty ended on 31 January.

Overall, 78 rifles, 73 shotguns, 33 pistols, 12 big bores and 2 air rifles were handed in by the public in an incentivised programme where each weapon handed in was rewarded with a $100 tala strictly-food-only voucher – not to be redeemed for alcohol or cigarettes.

Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil said it was a successful operation and the key objective was to remove illegal weapons and unlicensed firearms from within communities and the streets.

Of the 198 firearms brought in – 152 firearms will be disposed, while 46 firearms allowable in Samoa, are pending applications to be licensed.

Commissioner Keil added that any firearm with a barrel less than 12 inches is illegal in Samoa.

He revealed that one of the firearms turned in, was linked to an open police case, and has been set apart until investigations are complete.

According to a World Gun Population Review, Samoa has 10 firearms per 100 people, or an estimated 20,000 for its national population of 200,000.

By comparison, New Zealand is on 26.3 or 1,212,000 guns to its population of 4.9 million, while Fiji registers a low 0.5  rating, with only 5,000 guns estimated compared to its population of about 890,000.