Justice Minister Michael Keenan, together with Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) CEO Chris Dawson, today released the Illicit Firearms in Australia report. The findings form the ACIC’s first unclassified assessment of the illicit firearms market.
“The use and movement of illicit firearms by criminals is a serious national problem. It impacts every Australian jurisdiction and affects the safety of our community,” said Mr Dawson. “The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission supports any efforts, including both local and national firearm amnesties, which reduce the number of, and access to, illegal or unregistered firearms in the community.”
Firearms and organised crime are inextricably linked, with criminals often using firearms to protect their illicit interests, such as drugs, or to commit acts of violence and intimidation. Strategies are therefore needed to address both the illicit supply chain for firearms and the underlying activities of organised crime groups. “New trends in methods of acquiring and moving illicit firearms continue to evolve. The collection of national intelligence on illicit firearms with our partners assists all law enforcement agencies and governments to effectively discover, understand and respond to criminal activities where firearms are used,” said Mr Dawson.
The Illicit Firearms in Australia report is the unclassified version of updated classified intelligence products provided to the ACIC’s law enforcement partners in 2015. The report details the current understanding of the nature and extent of illicit firearms in the Australian community and shows that firearms are entering the illicit domain through a range of methods, including the ‘grey market’, legislative loopholes, theft, illicit assembly, illicit manufacture and illegal importation.
The ACIC was established in July this year following a merger between the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and CrimTrac. The agency also undertakes criminological research and communicates the findings through the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC).