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CSCAP Working Group on Transnational Crime--Small Arms Project: An Australian Perspective

NCJ Number
Date Published
17 pages
This paper highlights international strategies aimed at curbing the proliferation of firearms in Australia and examines Australian government initiatives to reduce the number of and access to illegal firearms in the community and to reduce firearm-related violence.
Small arms are traded through a variety of international, regional, and national channels. Legal channels include government-to-government transfers, commercial sales, private imports, private sales, and clubs. Illegal channels include clandestine military operations, black market sales, and grey market sales. Australia is a signatory to international conventions on small arms. At the regional level, Australia does not manufacture automatic firearms for commercial purposes and has issued about 1,600 firearm dealer licenses. The largest exports of small arms to Australia come from the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, Germany, Israel, and the People's Republic of China. The black market in Australia primarily involves criminal gangs whose main focus is on crimes other than dealing in firearms, and Australia is sometimes used as a transshipment point for illicit firearms. Initiatives of the government to control transnational crime associated with small arms encompass legislative changes, firearm licensing, firearm buybacks, and ban on the importation of military-style automatic and semiautomatic firearms. Goals of these initiatives are to reduce the number of the most lethal weapons in Australia and to ensure only responsible citizens have access to firearms. 14 references, 37 footnotes, 2 tables, and 1 figure