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(Feb 11, 2013) On February 5, 2013, the lower chamber of the Australian federal parliament voted to pass legislation that will introduce a new aggravated offense of trafficking in firearms. The offense will be subject to a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. (Press Release, Hon. Jason Clare MP, Life Sentences for Trafficking Firearms Passes the House of Representatives (Feb. 5, 2013).)

The new offense is contained in the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Organised Crime and Other Measures) Bill 2012. (Crimes Legislation Amendment (Organised Crime and Other Measures) Bill 2012, PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA (last visited Feb. 9, 2012); Crimes Legislation Amendment (Organised Crime and Other Measures) Bill 2012, COMLAW.) It would apply to the trafficking of 50 or more firearms or firearms parts, either across state and territory borders within Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 5 February 2013, 46 (Hon. Jason Clare MP).) The Bill is currently being considered by the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which is scheduled to report by March 13, 2013. (Crimes Legislation Amendment (Organised Crime and Other Measures) Bill 2012, Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.)

The new offense is part of a package of measures that were announced in June 2012, following the release of a report by the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Institute of Criminology on an investigation of the illegal firearms market in Australia. (Press Release, Hon. Jason Clare MP, Illicit Market Firearms and Organised Crime (June 29, 2012); Samantha Bricknell, Firearms Trafficking and Serious and Organised Crime Gangs (Australian Institute of Criminology, June 2012).) Other actions in the package include:

· the establishment of a National Firearms Register;

· the expansion of the Australian Ballistics Identification Network nationwide;

· the development of a National Firearms Identification Database;

· firearms training by specialists from the United States for Australian law enforcement;

· the establishment of a Firearms Intelligence and Targeting Team inside Customs;

· embedding Customs and Border Protection officers in relevant organized crime, gang, or firearm squads in states and territories;

· a national campaign on unlicensed firearms;

· the expansion of the Australian Crime Commission's tracing capability; and annual national intelligence assessments of the illegal firearms market. (Press Release, Hon. Jason Clare MP (Feb. 5, 2013), supra; see also Press Release, Hon. Jason Clare MP, Major Agreement to Tackle the Illegal Firearms Market (June 29, 2012); Press Release, Hon. Jason Clare MP, Australian Law Enforcement to Receive Expert US Firearm Identification Training (July 16, 2012).)


Author: Kelly Buchanan More by this author
Topic: Weapons More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Australia More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 02/11/2013