Gun Amnesty Nets 40,000 Weapons

More than 40,000 guns were handed over to police during the month-long firearms amnesty, the Home Office has announced.

The final figure far exceeded initial estimates of 25,000 weapons. Slightly fewer than one million rounds of ammunition were also surrendered.

About 6,500 prohibited weapons such as handguns were included in the final total.

The initiative was hailed as a "tremendous achievement" by Home Secretary David Blunkett.

He said: "The Government is determined to tackle the scourge of gun crime and get guns off our streets.

"The final figures for the gun amnesty are proof that people have taken the opportunity to rid themselves of firearms in advance of stiff sentences.

"Taking over 40,000 guns out of circulation is a tremendous achievement and the police must be congratulated for the professional way they operated the amnesty."

He added: "Officers, particularly in metropolitan areas, do an excellent job in difficult circumstances dealing with armed criminals.

"The new legislation we are bringing in to tackle these particularly unacceptable offences will give them the support they need to stamp down on gun crime."

The number of firearms handed in was 17,000 more than in the last guns amnesty in the wake of the 1996 Dunblane massacre. The latest campaign was triggered by the fatal shootings of Letisha Shakespeare, 17, and Charlene Ellis, 18, at Aston, Birmingham, on New Year's Eve.

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