The Australian government has announced a new national gun amnesty to get rid of illegal weapons amid growing violence and terrorism threat in the country.
The amnesty will come into effect from 1 July and would run for three-months, where people can freely surrender their illegal firearms and weapons without the fear of prosecution, the government has said.
Those caught outside the three-month time would face fines of up to A$280,000 ($212,730; £166,480) or a jail term of 14 years.
The decision from the government comes as Australia recently faced a series of attacks on national security, including Lindt Cafe siege in which gunman Man Haron Monis used illegal weapons for the attack. It is said that there are as many as 260,000 illegal guns in the country.
"Clearly the fact [is] we've got a deteriorating national security environment, we've got an environment where there has been five terrorists attacks on our soil and sadly in the vast majority of those cases it has been an illegal firearm that's been used," Justice Minister Michael Keenan told the ABC.
Keenan is scheduled to announce further details of the government initiative later on Friday, 16 June. Although the amnesty has been announced, it cannot be implemented until state and territory governments pass laws to put it into effect.
This would be the second time in Australian history when gun amnesty would be established. Earlier then prime minister John Howard had also introduced a similar amnesty after the 1996 shootings in Port Arthur.
"We are living in a time when our national security environment has deteriorated. We believe... now is the time to run another amnesty, with the aim of reducing this pool of illegal guns," the minister added.
At least 35 had been killed and another 23 injured after gunman Martin Bryant attacked people at the Port Arthur historic site in southern Tasmania in 1996.
"One illicit firearm can be very, very dangerous and the less illicit firearms we have in the community, the safer our community is going to be," Keenan said.
"There does appear to have been a proliferation of illicit guns over time, but remember there used to be a lot of guns in Australia until we've had very strict gun laws that were instituted after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996."
Supporting the government's decision he also gave example of Queensland, where state amnesties have been successful in cleaning up the streets. Keenan said he hopes the new national gun amnesty would also bring the same result.