Australian Institute of Criminology

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Firearms theft in Australia 2005-06

Research and public policy series no. 82

Samantha Bricknell and Jenny Mouzos
ISBN 978 1 921185 57 1 ISSN 1326-6004
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, January 2007

Abstract

Stolen firearms represent a very real source of weapons for diversion into the illegitimate firearms market and hence, potential use in criminal activities. Over the past ten years, the Australian Government has introduced legislation regarding the prohibition of certain categories of firearms, trafficking of firearms, and the licensing, registration and storage of new firearms. Furthermore, the Australasian Police Ministers' Council identified the need for long-term monitoring of firearms theft in Australia. The National Firearms Theft Monitoring Program (NFTMP) was subsequently established at the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), funded by the Australian Government under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 for a period of four years, starting 1 July 2006. The purpose of the NFTMP is to provide relevant and timely information on the nature and characteristics of firearms theft occurring in Australia. This report represents the first in the NFTMP series, and builds on earlier AIC research on firearms theft. It provides information on all incidents of firearms theft reported to police in Australian states and territories for the period 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006. The report examines the characteristics of stolen firearms, circumstances of the theft incident, modus operandi of offenders, storage arrangements and compliance with firearms laws and regulations, recovery of firearms, prosecution of offenders, and use of stolen forearms in subsequent illegal activities.