Criminals find it “easy” to buy black market firearms

Rachael Oxborrow

Criminals are accessing illegal guns in Australia despite the existence of stringent firearm laws and continuing to tighten these laws in the hope of reducing criminal activity has potentially more impact on people who follow the rules and meet licensing and storage requirements than those who choose not to. These are declarations the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA) has been making for years with the backing of objective evidence-based research from authoritative sources including the Australian Institute of Criminology.

Now a new Deakin University study published in the Deviant Behaviour journal entitled ‘I know a guy and he’s got guns galore: Accessing crime guns in the Australian illicit firearms market’ has once again backed our assertions. The study found a cohesive network of career criminals are running a thriving illicit gun trade in this country. Researchers interviewed criminal gang associates, former outlaw motorcycle gang members, drug traffickers and armed robbers in New South Wales and South Australian prisons and revealed criminals find it “surprisingly easy” to buy firearms through Australia’s black market despite strict gun laws. Keep an eye out for an in-depth analysis of this study from the SSAA Legislative Action (SSAA-LA) team in the near future.

Meanwhile, SSAA National’s response to a global push to introduce marking standards for individual ammunition cases has been forwarded to our World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA) associates. The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) released a discussion paper to investigate the feasibility of marking small calibre ammunition earlier this year. The WFSA represents its hunting, shooting and industry member organisations from around the world on the international stage, with SSAA National being one of its founding members.

The UNIDIR paper was discussed as part of the second substantiative session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Conventional Ammunition held in August. The OEWG has now met twice as it seeks to elaborate on a set of political commitments as a new global framework which will address existing gaps in through-life ammunition management. The third session for this group is set for February of next year.

The SSAA official response to the UNIDIR paper and its concept of ammunition marking has been provided to the Australian Department of Home Affairs. If you’d like to learn more about the Association’s official response, visit the SSAA National website.

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