Firearm seizures up four-fold

FIREARM seizures at Australian borders have exploded four-fold over the past five years with most failed import attempts coming from the United States.

Australian Customs and Border Protection figures provided to APN Newsdesk show firearm, firearm parts, magazine or accessory detections in Australia increased from 225 in the 2006-07 financial year to 977 in the last financial year.

The biggest year for detections was in 2009-10 when Australian Customs discovered almost 2000 firearms, firearm parts, magazines or accessories.

A Customs and Border Protection spokesman said a large detection of magazines contributed to the 2009-10 spike.

More than 50 per cent of the firearms and accessories intercepted by customs since 2006-07 came from the US.

The significant spike in illegal firearm importation comes as gun crime continues to plague some of Australia's capital cities.

In Sydney, drive-by shootings have become a daily occurrence in the western suburbs and, in Brisbane, there were two shooting murders in 24 hours this month.

Most recently, a bike-owned tattoo parlour on the Gold Coast was shot at on Tuesday.

While Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said recently he believed many firearms involved in violent crimes were stolen, he agreed some did get imported, even through the post.

Between July, 2009, and February this year, customs authorities discovered 265 firearms (including shotguns, rifles and handguns) on their way to addresses across Australia.

In 2009-10, 121 gun detections were made, compared to 97 last financial year.

From July, 2011, to February this year, customs detected 47 guns.

While Australian Customs and Border Protection admitted there had been an increase in detections over the past five years, a spokesman said there was "no evidence to suggest large volumes of firearms were being illegally imported into Australia."

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare established a Customs Firearms Intelligence and Targeting Team earlier this month.

The team will work with state and federal governments to tackle firearm crime and gather cross-border intelligence.

Topics:  customs firearms

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