Ireland says owners of unlicensed firearms and other deadly weapons will have two months to hand them in to police without penalty before a new, tougher law goes into effect.

Ireland's justice minister Michael McDowell says the weapons amnesty was designed to help people who might have feared prosecution for owning weapons, including crossbows and stun guns. He says he doesn't believe large numbers of hardened criminals will turn in their firearms.

The amnesty is to begin Friday and last through the end of October.

It does not include immunity from prosecution for crimes committed with the weapons. Forensic experts will examine all guns for possible links to shootings.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.