The Coalition is finally shifting its focus to the illegal firearms market on the eve of tomorrow’s Federal Election.
At the official launch of the Coalition election campaign on Sunday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said a re-elected Coalition Government would invest $64 million into tackling organised crime syndicates and outlaw motorcycle gangs.
The new plan is designed “to keep illegal guns off our streets and our communities safe”.
Over the past year, the Liberal’s Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan had lawful firearms owners on edge as he attempted to further restrict ownership.
Last August, the Liberal’s then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott banned the importation of the Adler A110 seven-shot lever-action shotgun following an emotive campaign against the firearm.
But now it appears the message may finally have gotten through – drug gangs and the illegal importation of firearms are the issues, not lawful firearms owners.
The Coalition commitment is positive if taken at face value.
Mr Turnbull said a re-elected Coalition Government would find new ways to detect, disrupt and undermine the activities of bikie gangs and illegal syndicates using new technologies.
“We will invest $39 million to extend the work of our National Anti-Gang Squad for a further two years to track and detect illegal firearms on our streets and attack the scourge of ice and other illegal drugs,” Mr Turnbull said.
The National Anti-Gang Squad will focus on locking up the people who profit from the drug trade and illegal firearms market, particularly in regional Australia.
“The illegal trafficking of firearms is a deadly crime and just one illegal firearm is a huge threat to the safety of Australians,” Mr Turnbull said. “The Coalition will continue to equip our law enforcement agencies with the resources they need to be able to detect and seize illegal firearms.”
Mr Turnbull also said the Coalition would invest $25.4 million into forensics and intelligence assets for the Australian Federal Police “to better detect incoming shipments of illegal firearms, and to go after the criminal syndicates who sell them”.
Within 100 days, a re-elected Coalition Government would also increase maximum penalties and introduce mandatory minimum sentences of five years imprisonment for firearms trafficking.