Australian Gun Culture Part 24: Illicit Manufacture of Handguns

By Dean Weingarten

More than 10% of Firearms Seized in Australia are Homemade
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- -Australia has one of the strictest firearms regulatory schemes in Western Civilization. It has not appreciably changed their overall murder or suicide or accidental death rates, which were already low and falling when the scheme was implemented.

As Australia is a continent considerably separated from the rest of the industrialized world, it is a near ideal test case for the efficacy of gun control schemes. A figure from an Australian government report on sources of illegal guns shows that when guns are tightly regulated, criminals find ways around the regulation.

Guns are basically 14th-century technology. A first world country, with access to the normal run of the mill hardware store power tools, can make guns easily. Most crime is committed with handguns. In Australia 13.7% of the handguns traced were of domestic manufacture. All of those were illicit. Australia does not have any known legal manufacture of handguns. That is twice as many illegally manufactured handguns as of handguns smuggled in.

Method of Diversion of Handguns Where Trace Was Completed, 2004 to 30 June 2016
Method of Diversion of Handguns Where Trace Was Completed, 2004 to 30 June 2016

Some correspondents doubt that the 30.8% theft number is accurate. They say that the storage requirements are so tight that theft of handguns is to difficult to make the 30% figure. The chart does not tell us how many “30.8%” is. It might be hundreds. It might be dozens. One authority says that remote residences are targeted because they are likely to have several guns. Without more detail, it is impossible to verify the official report, or to discredit it. My experience with Australian authorities is that they are careful to perform their functions as required by law. It seems unlikely that they would misinform their superiors on the number of stolen handguns. We do not know where they were stolen from. Perhaps some were stolen from military stocks or from the police?

I suspect that many of the illicitly manufactured handguns are sub-machine guns. They are one of the easiest of repeating firearms to make, and there have been a number of reports of their manufacture associated with organized crime.

Many of the illicitly manufactured handguns are sub-machine guns.
Many of the illicitly manufactured handguns are sub-machine guns.
Sometimes they include a silencer and extra magazines.  From dailytelegraph.com.au:

Backyard arms trader Angelos Koots admitted making up to 100 of the perfectly constructed MAC 10 machine guns – more commonly seen in war zones and believed to have been used in Sydney gang shootings – at his Seven Hills house.

The guns, sold with two magazines and a silencer, were of such quality that during “Mythbuster” style tests alongside a genuine MAC 10 they fired 600 rounds a minute.

This link is one internet site that gives detailed instructions on how to construct a MAC-10.

It is not clear if the Australian authorities count cut down or sawed off rifles and shotguns as “handguns”.

This pistol was called a "shortened rifle" in the media report.
This pistol was called a “shortened rifle” in the media report.

This pistol was called a “shortened rifle” in the media report. It seems likely that it was designated that by police.

Australia has an incredibly low crime rate. A low crime rate existed and was falling before the extreme firearms regulatory scheme was implemented in 1996.  The regulatory scheme has not stopped criminal's access to firearms.  Overall crime and homicides have continued to drop after the implementation of the firearms regulation, at about the same rate they were falling before 1996.

2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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