Saturday, April 08, 2006

When Guns are Outlawed, There Will Still Be Plenty of Guns

From the Queensland Sunday Mail, the story of how Australian gun laws haven’t really restricted the availability of weapons:
ILLEGAL guns can be bought “as easily as a pack of cigarettes” through a booming weapons black market in Queensland.

Despite official denials, The Sunday Mail has been told that weapons are freely available through underworld dealers.

Prices start at $300 for a pistol and range to $4000 for the firepower of an Uzi sub-machinegun, capable of firing 10 heavy-calibre rounds a second.

Police Minister Judy Spence assured Parliament this week that tough laws had brought gun crime under control.

However, Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, leading criminologist Paul Wilson, retired hero policeman John “Bluey” O’Gorman, legal gun dealers and even an ex-bank robber have confirmed the illegal trade is thriving.

Yet an underworld source who contacted The Sunday Mail said “guns are everywhere” in a flourishing black market.

“Buying a firearm is as easy as buying a packet of cigarettes if you have the right connections,” the source said.

“You can get anything you want. The new laws didn’t change anything except push them further underground.”

The unnamed source said a Glock 19 pistol could be bought in Brisbane for $2500. The Sunday Mail was sent a photograph of the weapon.

The high-powered Glock is similar to those issued to police. It has a shorter-than-average barrel length of 100mm, making it easily concealed and more attractive to criminals.

The source said a lightweight Uzi sub-machinegun could be bought “from the right people” in Brisbane for $4000. The Israeli-designed 9mm automatics are favoured by special forces troops -- and crime gangs -- around the world.

Mr Springborg confirmed that police officers had privately told him of an estimated “hundreds of thousands” of weapons on the black market.

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