The Police took one giant leap towards eliminating gun violence in Samoa yesterday.
It happened when more than 500 firearms were crushed, loaded onto the Police boat, and dumped in the ocean as part of the Police Amnesty programme.
With 117 firearms earmarked for re-registration, the firearms destroyed included 300 from cases that had been before the Courts.
The Firearm Amnesty lasted for one month, starting in November.
Two hundred and seventy one guns were collected in Upolu with 51 from Savai’i.
Prior to the weapons being crushed yesterday, a special service was held to mark the occasion.
Prime Minister Tuilapea Sailele Malielegaoi said the project is a vital part of the government’s efforts to keep Samoa safe.
He thanked Police Commissioner Fuiavailili Egon Keil and his team for their work in collecting the weapons.
The Prime Minister Tuilaepa also offered assistance for members of the public who require a firearm to put down a cow or a sow.
He said this could be arranged for a cheap price to cover the fuel of the person doing the job. This, he said, eliminates the need to have firearms in homes.
Commissioner Fuiava thanked the community for their assistance.
The operation, he said, was to reduce the number of unlawful firearms in Samoa and to give law-abiding gun owners the chance to re-register their guns.
“Our overarching goal is to reduce incidents of gun violence in our country,” said Fuiavailili.
Fuiavailili thanked the Minister of Police, Sala Fata Pinati, his staff especially the Tactical Operations Unit and the Australian Federal Police.
“I would also like to thank the public for trusting us to do our jobs,” he said.
The guns collected included:
• 110 shotguns
• 147 semi automatic 22 calibre rifles.
• 13 Assault Rifles or high Calibre Sniper rifles
• 23 semi automatic handguns
• 15 revolver handguns
• 11 air rifles
• 3 air handguns
No explosives were recovered.
All the firearms were crushed; loaded onto the Nafanua boat and dumped about ten miles from shore.