The Hon.

Michael Keenan MP

Federal Member for Stirling
Minister for Justice
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter Terrorism


 

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Combatting Illegal Firearms

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Combatting Illegal Firearms

The illegal trafficking of firearms is a deadly crime and just one illegal firearm is a huge threat to the safety of Australians.

Since coming to government the Coalition has moved to put in place a range of measures to combat illegal firearms in our community including:

Investing $88 million to increase screening and examination of international mail, air and sea cargo. This funding boost gives our agencies greater tools to detect illicit firearms and firearms parts at our borders.

Investing $116 million in the National Anti-Gang Squad, with strike teams now in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia and liaison officers in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Providing an additional $25.4 million to fund the expansion of the AFP’s National Forensics Rapid Lab to enhance the AFP’s capacity to detect and seize illegal firearms and target the criminal syndicates that peddle them.

Closing a loophole that allowed criminals to avoid prosecution for trafficking firearm parts into Australia. The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Psychoactive Substances and Other Measures) Bill 2014 extended the existing trafficking offences to include firearm parts as well as whole firearms. Without these amendments, criminals could evade trafficking offences and penalties simply by breaking down the firearms and then trafficking the parts separately.

This week we will introduce legislation in the Parliament that doubles the maximum penalties for up to 20 years and provides mandatory minimum sentences of five years’ imprisonment for firearms trafficking offences.

These measures fulfil our 2016 election commitment to keep illegal guns off our streets and our communities safe.

The focus of the Coalition Government is to ensure that we equip our law enforcement agencies with the resources they need to be able to detect and seize illegal firearms.

In line with this, the Commonwealth has also been working with the states on introducing a national gun amnesty.

State-level officials gave unanimous in-principle support for a national firearms amnesty at a meeting last month.

The timing and structure of a national amnesty, and further measures to combat gun-related crime, will be considered by the nation’s Police Ministers at the next Law, Crime and Community Safety Council meeting to be held before the end of the year.

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