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Victoria Police warns of homemade pipe guns

The announcement of 20 firearms crudely manufactured, sold via the black market and now apparently in the hands of those with illicit dealings is further evidence that illegal firearms come from many sources, including sometimes the backyard shed.

Victoria Police has warned the public to be wary of homemade firearms after seizing about 20 such guns throughout the western suburbs of Melbourne over the past seven months. These primitively designed firearms at first glance appear to be mere pieces of steel piping, but are capable of firing genuine 12-gauge shotgun cartridges as well as .22-calibre bullets. One end of the tube is open, while there is a device at the other end which allows the cartridge to be fired.

Superintendent Stuart Bateson said Victoria Police had not received any reports of these gadgets actually being used, but outlined that the firearms taken in by the police so far appeared ‘volatile and unpredictable’. “My concern is that one of these firearms is located by a member of the public who doesn’t recognise what they are and puts themselves in danger,” he said. “They could pick it up and accidentally discharge it, causing injury to that person. We are appealing to members of the public...if anybody comes into contact with one of these weapons, keep them in situ, call us and we will come along and deal with it...They are very dangerous and likely to blow up in someone’s face if used.”

Supt Bateson said the makeshift firearms had been confiscated after police had used search warrants to raid properties in relation to other crimes. They had also been found in vehicles and on individuals in various locations who were apparently using them to protect themselves. Police are concerned that these firearms could become more common as a weapon of choice among drug dealers. “They are pretty rudimentary and not popular with those at the higher end of the drugs trade,” Supt Bateson said. “Certainly, I would not want to fire one...We caught one particular individual manufacturing guns in a shed in his backyard. But they are not tested and not safe. The person involved in the manufacture was not a skilled tradesman. This is one of the real problems with this type of firearm.” It seems the demand is fuelled by access, in that individuals are unable to put their hands on proper or manufactured firearms so resort to this murky subculture.

The issue counters the claims of anti-gunners such as Gun Control Australia, who continue to perpetuate the myth that almost all illegal guns are sourced from legal owners, and is part of the anti-gun agenda to blame the licensed, law-abiding firearm owner. The reality is that illegal firearms come from a range of sources, including illegal importation, the black market, illicit manufacturing and a small proportion stolen from licensed owners.

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