Queensland report directly links illegal firearms with organised crime

A 578-page report into organised criminal activity in Queensland clearly shows crime syndicates and outlaw motorcycle groups linked with illicit drugs and illegal firearms. The Queensland Organised Crime Commission of Inquiry, conducted by Commissioner Michael Byrne QC, showed that the production of illicit drugs by outlaw motorcycle groups goes hand-in-hand with firearms trafficking. The report worryingly found that such groups increasingly exploit their domestic and international connections to further their dealings in illicit trades.

The report, which was handed down in November, detailed how outlaw motorcycle gang members are the primary producers of amphetamine-type stimulants in Australia, which extended to other illicit drugs and the trafficking of illegal firearms. Case studies listed throughout the report linked drug dealing with the possession of illegal firearms in almost every example.

The report also found that illegal firearms are commonly seized “in conjunction with the production and supply of cannabis”. “The presence of weapons in such circumstances indicates that there is a level of violence, intimidation and sophistication involved in the cannabis market,” the report said. Cannabis was singled out as the drug of choice for Queenslanders.

Finally, the report demonstrated a link between illicit drug use with firearms crime, stating “those using methylamphetamine were more likely to have been charged with assault and weapons offences in the preceding 12 months”.

SSAA Queensland President Michael Pommer said the findings in the report confirmed long-held fears that illegal criminal groups are heavily involved in the illicit firearms market. “The SSAA has long pointed out that organised criminal groups should be the main focus of authorities when combating the illegal firearms market,” he said. “This report clearly shows that illegal firearms are directly linked to organised criminal groups and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

“Law-abiding firearm owners shouldn’t be the target of overzealous regulation and legislation time and time again, especially when reports such as this demonstrate the intricate link between illegal firearms, the illicit manufacturing of drugs, and outlaw motorcycle gangs. Licensed firearm owners are not the problem, and we welcome the report in highlighting this important fact.”

The report comes after the 2014-15 Greens-led Senate Inquiry into gun-related violence also found no evidence that firearms stolen from licensed owners are the predominant source of supply for criminals or the black market, a claim commonly repeated by Greens politicians and anti-gun groups.

The Queensland Government is currently considering the recommendations of the report, which also looked at drug offences, child sexual offences and child exploitation, financial crimes, money laundering and corruption.

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