Press release from the Hon Jason Clare MP, Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Justice, Minister for Defence Materiel
Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice, Jason Clare, today welcomed experts from the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to Australia.
The ATF officers today began delivery of firearm identification courses to Federal, State and Territory police and firearms officers from Commonwealth agencies including the Customs and Border Protection Service.
Minister Clare reached agreement with the ATF to provide this training during a visit to the United States in July 2012.
The course will enhance the skills of Australian law enforcement in identifying firearm markings, parts and components.
“The ATF are the experts in firearm identification and their skills will be very valuable to our State and Federal Police and Customs officers,” Mr Clare said.
The training is part of a package of major reforms to tackle the illegal firearms market in Australia that Minister Clare took to the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management in June last year.
“The reforms are designed to tackle the illicit firearms market from every angle – to seize illegal firearms, to break the code of silence, to improve our ability to trace illegal firearms, to strengthen laws and harden the border.” Mr Clare said.
Other parts of this reform package include:
- the nationwide rollout of the Australian Ballistics Identification Network;
- the development of a national firearms registry;
- the introduction of a new offence of firearms trafficking with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment;
- the expansion of the Australian Crime Commission’s firearms tracing capability;
- the establishment of a Firearms Intelligence Targeting Team inside Customs and Border Protection; and
- embedding Customs officers inside State and Territory police organised crime, gang and firearm squads.
The Australian Crime Commission has had a Memorandum of Understanding with the ATF since 2007, which has enabled access to the ATF’s firearms tracing system called E-Trace.