Illicit market firearms and organised crime
29 June 2012
The Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Jason Clare today released a comprehensive report by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), on Firearm trafficking and serious and organised criminal gangs.
This project was undertaken by the AIC in collaboration with the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and funded under the Research Support for National Security Program.
“This extensive report examined a total of 2,750 records on firearms seized by state and territory police between June 2002 and October 2011” Mr Clare said.
“It helps reveal a clearer picture of the type of firearms that serious and organised crime groups are actively obtaining and the common routes of supply from the licit to the illicit market”.
Just under half of firearms found in the possession of serious and organised crime groups were models that were the subject of buybacks that accompanied the major firearms agreements in 1996 and 2002.
The majority of these were semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic pistols, supplemented by smaller quantities of pump-action shotguns, revolvers, semi-automatic shotguns, submachine guns and single shot pistols.
Many of these restricted firearms were seized from entities involved in the illicit drug market and/or firearm trafficking ventures, or were members of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
The report also includes:
- a review of open-source literature and court proceedings to overview the types of firearm markets that operate in Australia; the types and known (or suspected) sources of illicit firearms; and the characteristics of sellers and consumers in the market;
- a review of Australian firearm laws to identify where legislative loopholes have been closed and where gaps that may facilitate diversion of firearms from the licit to the illicit market still exist;
- an examination of methods and systems for recording firearm data in Australia to illustrate where improvements could be made to enhance firearm tracing; and
- analysis of data compiled in the ACC’s National Firearm Trace Database (NFTD), which records some of the unregistered firearms seized by Australian police forces, to describe the composition of, and major sources of supply to, the illicit firearm market.
The report also identified areas where legislation could be improved nationally, such as scrutiny around sale and disposal records maintained by dealers and increasing penalties on the wilful entry of false information.
The report can be found at www.aic.gov.au
Media contact: Minister Clare's office (02) 6277 7290