6 May 2012

Imported guns used in drive-by shootings

7:58 am on 6 May 2012

Gun possession and control is under focus in Australia following a series of drive-by shootings in New South Wales, where such incidents have increased by 41% in the last two years.

The ABC reports handguns are the weapons of choice and increasingly they are being smuggled into the country.

Detective Superintendent Ken Finch says most weapons are now entering the black market from overseas.

''Traditionally the thought in New South Wales and Sydney has been (that they are sourced) from theft,'' he said.

''In more recent times, the evidence is pointing directly at people illegally importing handguns.

Detective Superintendent Finch also said there are quite a lot of handguns on the streets of Sydney at the moment.

Detective Superintendent Finch says most weapons are now entering the black market from overseas.

''The weapon of choice on the streets of Sydney ... is very clearly semi-automatic handguns,'' he said.

In March, NSW police smashed a trafficking syndicate which was importing guns illegally through a post office in southern Sydney.

Since then, another illegal operation has been targeted on the mid-north coast of New South Wales and in Sydney.

The Customs and Border Protection Service says it is not sure how many guns are being smuggled in.

But deputy chief executive officer Mike Pezzullo says the majority of firearms are entering the country via mail, 75%.

More than 4000 firearms, firearm parts, magazines and various accessories have been detected.

But Gun Control Australia says the focus should be on the flow of illegal guns within Australia.

"There's far too many guns being stolen," said president John Crook.