In an alarming story posted by theQueensland Courier-Mail on 11th October, reporters MarkSolomons and colleagues report that the Queensland Crime andMisconduct Commission (CMC) have added illegal firearms to theirpermanent investigation list after a recent theft of 200 guns form anundisclosed location. Their headline ran, “Gold Coast criminaltells how guns can be bought in under two hours thanks to bikieconnections”.
While the firearm crime rate remainshigh, CMC investigators have seen no rise in the demand or use ofillegal firearms to commit crime. They added that they “had notidentified the import or conversion of weapons as a significantsource of income for organised criminals in Queensland”, futherciting “no intelligence indicating anything more than opportunisticinvolvement.”
Robert Nioa, prominent Queensland-basedfirearms dealer has a different perspective; “because of tight controls overhandguns in Australia, the most likely source for new ones wasimportation – where he saw holes in enforcement.” Nioa said, “Thenumber of containers screened, my understanding is that it’s verylow, of general consignments of foreign goods, motor cars, machineryparts, metal instruments, …If that’s the case, it would not bedifficult to import components of firearms, split it over multipleshipments, hidden in all sorts of consignments, and consolidated at alater time.”
Based on the low rate of inspection ofincoming containers to Australian ports, it seems more likely thatNioa’s assessment of the situation would be the more accurate.Meanwhile, Queensland’s licensed, law-abiding firearms owners are tobe further restricted with proposed new legislation limiting riflemagazine capacity. We live in an upside-down kind of world.