The Andrews Labor Government shared a media release yesterday about the new police teams working to disrupt the illicit firearms trade.
Field & Game Australia (FGA) welcome the focus on unregistered, illegal firearms used by criminals. The 2014 Federal Senate Inquiry into the ability of Australia law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community highlighted the importance of police resources targeting the source of the problem - criminal activity.
The media release goes on to say:
"The new teams are part of Victoria Police’s Armed Crime Squad, and will run overt and covert firearms operations across Victoria. The first officers in these teams have already hit the streets in the last few weeks.
They will work to disrupt the illicit firearms trade, focusing on high-risk offenders who may be involved in gun crime.
The team will also closely scrutinise trends in the illegal manufacture of firearms – including the use of 3D printers – and will provide support to the regions to investigate thefts of registered firearms."
FGA's submission to the 2014 Senate Inquiry presented evidence that less than 1% of registered firearms are stolen, and an even smaller percentage of these stolen firearms are later used in criminal activity. We're glad to see support for our law-abiding firearm owners with better investigation into registered firearm thefts, however the theory that illegal guns are mainly stolen from registered gun owners is not supported by evidence.
The Andrews Labor Government's changes have also made it easier for the police to charge individuals for the possession of a firearm, as well as increasing the penalty for the theft of a firearm from 10 to 15 years in jail.
You can read the media release in full here.