Australian law enforcement to receive expert US firearm identification training
16 July 2012
Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice, Jason Clare, today announced that the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will provide Australian law enforcement agencies with expert training in the identification and analysis of illegal firearms.
Mr Clare met with the Deputy Director of the ATF, Mr Thomas Brandon, in Washington DC on Friday.
This agreement means Australian law enforcement officers will receive training from ATF officers at the ATF firearms tracing facility in West Virginia to further enhance their skills in identifying firearm markings, parts and components, and the methods that can be used by organised crime to hide firearms.
The training will also enable officers to train other Australian law enforcement officers on their return to Australia.
“The ATF are the experts in this area and their skills will be very valuable for our State and Federal Police and Customs officers”, Mr Clare said.
In February this year Mr Clare asked the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) to undertake a national intelligence assessment of the illicit firearms market.
The ACC presented its final report to the Standing Council of Police and Emergency Management in Melbourne two weeks ago.
The ACC’s national intelligence assessment found most of the illicit firearms in Australia were either not handed in after the Port Arthur massacre, or were obtained through theft.
In response to this report, Police Ministers from across the country agreed to a range of reforms to tackle firearms crime, including:
- the roll out of the Integrated Ballistic Identification System nationwide
- the development of a national firearms registry
- the introduction of a new offence of firearms trafficking with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment
- the expansion of the ACC’s firearms tracing capability
- the establishment of a Firearms Intelligence Targeting Team inside Customs and Border Protection embedding Customs officers inside State and Territory police organised crime, gang and firearm squads as agreed with jurisdictions.
At this meeting of Police Ministers two weeks ago, the Federal Government also agreed to ask the United States Bureau of America Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to provide federal, state and territory law enforcement agencies with training on the latest developments in firearm identification and technical advice.
The ACC has had a Memorandum of Understanding with the ATF since 2007, which has enabled ACC access to the ATF’s firearms tracing system called E-Trace.
Media contact: Annie Williams - 02 6277 7290