Handguns and assault rifles like those used in recent mass shootings in the United States are being offered for sale in Australia by an arms dealer trading via an electronic shopfront found on the dark web.
It has been revealed a website, trading as Executive Outcomes, is using so-called “drop ships” to move its illicit cargo into Australia via Brisbane.
Executive Outcomes guarantees anonymous delivery of a large array of arms, including assault rifles such as the Bushmaster M4-A3, used in 2012 at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Colorado in what was the deadliest mass shooting in US school history when 20 children and six adult staff members were killed.
According to US-based arms dealer, its “biggest buyers are in Germany, UK and Australia”.
Responding to the development, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on Monday said the Australian Border Force was actively monitoring and targeting the illicit online trade of weapons.
“Stopping illegal firearms at the border is a priority for the Australian Border Force,” a spokesperson told AAP.
The website also sells handguns, such as Glocks, shotguns and other high-powered weapons.
A Bushmaster M4, when made fully automatic, can fire 950 rounds per minute. It sells on the Executive Outcome website for about $A2500. A Glock G17 can be bought for about $A1300.
The weapons include models similar to that used by Martin Bryant during the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, which left 35 people dead and 23 wounded.
But AAP can confirm Executive Outcomes claims to guarantee delivery to its “Australian re-shipper” in Brisbane within four weeks, followed by another four to 12 days before the arms reach the client.
“… although our biggest buyers are in Germany, UK and Australia, we can ship firearms worldwide,” the website said.
“Privacy and anominymity (sic) ensured throughout the entire process.”
“We make sure that your firearm is not serialized (sic) … the paperwork is not traceable or suspicious, and that the firearm is new and unused for optimum performance.”
It’s understood the weapons are typically disassembled before shipment to Australia, so as to avoid detection, with the company employing other “shielding” and “decoy” tactics to avoid detection.
“Sending the parts at once or in separate packages is your choice. You do have to pay up front for the item so most people choose to buy the first part, then the second, then the third,” the website advises.
Executive Outcomes says it will “strip, not completely disassemble the firearm before its placed “in the shielding” or “decoy packaging” for shipping.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection told AAP inspection rates across cargo and international mail streams had been increased, resulting in increased examination and inspection rates of high-risk cargo at the border.
“ABF works in very close partnership with the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission, our state and territory police partners, and other agencies in overseas jurisdictions to ensure that Australia is as free from illicit firearms as we can make it,” the spokesperson said.