National ballistics system misses mark in targeting firearm crime

A new national ballistics system touted by the federal government as the answer to tracking down criminals and illegal firearms is misguided warns the SSAA.

During their time as councillors on the previous federal government’s Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Council, SSAA past president Bob Green and Chief Executive Officer Tim Bannister raised concerns that a program such as the new Australian Ballistics Information Network (ABIN) is expensive, with little benefit to public safety.

“This program has been trialled and it failed in the United States,” Tim said. “Many policing experts in Australia consider it to be of no value to reducing firearm-related crime or have any benefit to public safety.”

The federal government announced the ABIN program, with Minister for Justice Michael Keenan stating that it will “give police the edge in the fight against gun crime by increasing the speed they can match ballistic evidence and link firearms to both suspects and crimes”.

The CrimTrac system worth $9.6 million goes online from July and operates as a ‘fingerprint’ system for firearms, which the government believes will provide all police agencies across the country with a quicker system to link firearms to both suspects and crimes.

However, Bob Green warns that criminals can rort the system just as they do the licensing and firearms registration protocols across the country. “Perhaps the money could be better spent on the inspection of incoming goods to Australia at a time when Customs is facing continuous funding cuts,” Bob said.

He said that the danger would be that the initiative would negatively affect law-abiding licensed firearm owners while criminals would alter their firearms to become non-identifiable in the new system.

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