The illicit movement, trafficking and use of firearms is a serious national threat and a significant safety concern for the Australian community.
The demand for and supply of illicit firearms in Australia is driven by a range of entities, from organised crime groups to low-level individual criminals, who continue to seek, procure and use firearms to protect their interests and commit violent acts.
Since 2010, intelligence has indicated that not only are serious and organised crime groups seeking access to firearms for criminal purposes, but an increasing number of groups are trafficking firearms. The illicit firearms market is driven in part by outlaw motorcycle gangs, Middle Eastern organised crime groups, and other groups engaged in trafficking illicit commodities such as drugs.
These groups are known to have direct links to the use of illicit firearms but criminal involvement in the illicit firearm market is not limited to serious and organised crime groups, gangs or particular criminal acts.
A wide range of criminals acquire and use firearms to conduct their criminal business, protect their interests, intimidate others and commit acts of violence. No single organised crime group dominates the sale and supply of firearms in the Australian illicit market.
Firearms enter the illicit market in Australia through a number of historical and contemporary diversion methods, depending on the firearm type.
Organised crime is exploiting the rapid development of technology and its increasing availability to users worldwide. Criminals are likely to exploit new and emerging trends to acquire and traffic illicit firearms.
Organised crime and firearms are inextricably linked, and law enforcement response strategies must address both illicit firearms supply routes and the criminal activities that drive firearms use.