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Firearms used in drive by shootings to be traced by the Australian Crime Commission



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THE HON. JASON CLARE MP MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

MEDIA RELEASE

FIREARMS USED IN DRIVE BY SHOOTINGS TO BE TRACED BY THE AUSTRALIAN CRIME COMMISSION

12 February 2012

Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Jason Clare today announced the Australian Crime Commission would conduct a National Intelligence Assessment of the illegal firearm market and its links to gang activity in Australia.

Mr Clare said this would include tracing the firearms linked to the most recent shootings in Western Sydney and Adelaide.

“What has been occurring across Sydney is extremely serious. There is a very real risk that someone spraying bullets at a house will kill an innocent person. That’s why I have commissioned this work,” Mr Clare said.

“It will provide police across the country with better intelligence to target criminals who supply and use firearms.”

The National Intelligence Assessment will include trace analysis of firearms linked to drive by and other shootings across the country in the past 12 months.

The Australian Crime Commission will work with the Australian Federal Police, State and Territory Police and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

The Assessment will also involve harnessing information from the USA’s online firearm tracing system E-Trace, which will help us to trace the history of illicit firearms and identify points of origin.

“With modern technology and the powers of the ACC we can link firearms and bullets to criminals and build a better intelligence picture of the firearm black market.”

Mr Clare said this plan had been developed by working closely with the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher.

This will build on the ACC’s intelligence assessments of the firearms black market over the past decade (see attached).

This work has found that:

• Illicit long-arms, such as rifles and shotguns are principally sourced from the pool of un-registered firearms which remain in the possession of persons who failed to register them in 1996 as required under the National Firearms Agreement; and

• Illicit handguns have been principally sourced by criminals who took advantage of differences in state and territory definitions of firearms and other loopholes which have been closed by authorities for over a decade.

“These loopholes have now been fixed, but the firearms are still out there. This work will give us a better picture of the modern methods criminals use to get these firearms locally or from overseas.”

Mr Clare said this work will provide police across the country with additional intelligence on how illicit firearms are sourced, where they have been used in different states and how to better target the people who operate the black market.

“The Australian Crime Commission and Attorney-General’s Department will also use this intelligence to provide advice on what further action is needed to tackle illegal firearms.”

The preliminary results of this work will be presented to the Standing Council on Law and Justice in April.

The final report and recommendations will be presented to the next national meeting of State and Territory Police Ministers in July.

Media enquiries: Korena Flanagan - 0418 251 316