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Final report of the national investigation into the illegal firearms market



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UNCLASSIFIED

 

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

MEDIA RELEASE

FINAL REPORT OF THE NATIONAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE ILLEGAL FIREARMS MARKET

29 June 2012

In February this year the Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice, Jason Clare, asked the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) to undertake a national intelligence assessment of the illegal firearms market.

The Australian Crime Commission provided its interim findings to the national meeting of Attorneys General and Justice Ministers in April.

The final report was presented to the Standing Council of Police and Emergency Management today.

It reveals that:

• There are more than 2.75 million registered firearms in Australia held by more than 730,000 individual firearm licence holders;

• A conservative estimate is that there are more than 250,000 long arms and 10,000 hand guns in the illicit firearms market; and

• The durability of firearms ensures that those diverted to the illicit market remain in circulation and are available for use by criminals for many decades - the oldest firearm traced by the Australian Crime Commission was a functioning revolver manufactured in 1888.

The illegal firearms market is sourced from:

• Firearms that weren’t surrendered or registered after the Port Arthur massacre;

• Firearms that are stolen from legitimate owners;   • Firearms that are diverted by crooked firearms dealers;   • Illegal imports; and

 

• Firearms that are made or reactivated by backyard operators.

The Australian Crime Commission has undertaken a tracing analysis of 3,186 weapons seized by Australian law enforcement agencies.

This tracing analysis revealed:

• 44 per cent were not surrendered or registered after the Port Arthur massacre;

• 12 per cent were stolen or the subject of staged theft - an average of 1,500 firearms per year have been stolen from licensed firearms holders in the past five years;

• Deactivation accounts for 3.3 per cent;

• Interstate transfer accounts for 1.5 per cent;

• Backyard manufacturing accounted for 1.3 per cent of weapons;

• Illegal importation accounted for less than 0.5 per cent of the firearms traced; and

• Unknown method of diversion (33.5 per cent of requested traces) as there was insufficient information available.

Media contact: Annie Williams - 0428 040 522