are using the “dark web” to buy and sell guns, grenades and
instructions on how to make bombs from sellers overseas, a UN-backed
report has found.
In the largest study into online firearm
sales, RAND Europe, a non-profit research organisation, found more than
800 arms-related products available online during a six-day period late
Researchers said the majority of guns came from the US
but said the “overwhelming majority of listings” offered worldwide
The report also identified 11 listings from arms dealers in Australia but sources told The Sunday Telegraph
many more Australia are using the dark web to purchase weapons with
sellers in Europe, Canada, the US, Asia and South America offering
shipping to Australia.
As part of the study, researchers
investigated 167,000 listings of illegal products on 12 cryptomarkets —
encrypted websites which allow criminal to buy and sell drugs and
weapons without being caught.
Used pistols were available for as little as $218 while sub-machine guns were listed for an average price of $2495.
use “special shipping techniques” to minimise the risk of detection
including disassembling weapons and shipping the parts in multiple
packages. The report also found that some vendors suggested concealing
parts inside printers or televisions to minimise detection.
vendor offered to ship firearms with illicit drugs in a bulk order while
another seller insisted that a shipment of grenades be limited to three
per parcel to avoid detection.
Earlier this year
counter-terrorism agencies foiled a terror plot to bring down a plane
with an improvised explosive device built using components which were
allegedly posted from Turkey to Australia.
The 125-page report found that the most popular product listed on the dark web after firearms were digital products which included manuals on how to manufacture firearms and instructions on how to print guns at home using 3D printers which could be purchased for as little as $1.30 (AU).
“While guides and manuals on how to make bombs are home were illegally circulating on the web well before the establishment of cryptomarkets, the level of accessibility provided by these platforms represents reason for high concern among policy makers and practitioners,” the report said.
When contacted by The Sunday Telegraph, Justice Minister Michael Keenan said he was aware of the research paper which he said reinforced the importance of the Government’s tough stance on gun smuggling.
“Anyone making the mistake of considering buying an illegal firearm through the Dark Web should know their identity will not always remain anonymous and when caught, they will be prosecuted,” he said.
This week the federal Government will reintroduce legislation for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for gun traffickers.
Labor and the Greens oppose mandatory minimum sentencing and have repeatedly voted to amend the Bill.
Mr Keenan said Australian authorities were using “every method at their disposal” to catch and stop anyone involved in buying and selling firearms online.