A 28-year-old traveller from the United States has been arrested after Australian Border Force officers allegedly discovered a firearm in her luggage.
According to a report on the ABF website, the weapon – a 24-carat gold-plated handgun – was unregistered, and the passenger was not in possession of “a permit to import or possess the firearm in Australia.”
If convicted, she will face up to 10 years of imprisonment. And while she was arrested and charged, she was released on bail at Downing Centre Local Court, and is expected to face court again in a month’s time. She remains subject to visa cancellation, and faces the likelihood of being removed from Australia.
As ABF Enforcement and Detained Goods East Commander Justin Bathurst explained, the discovery was made with a combination of ABC officer skills and detection technology, one that served to prevent a dangerous weapon from entering the Australian community.
“Time and time again, we have seen just how good ABF officers are at targeting and stopping illegal, and highly dangerous, goods from crossing Australia’s border,” he said.
“The ABF is Australia’s first and most important line of defence. ABF officers are committed to protecting our community by working with law enforcement partners to prevent items like unregistered firearms getting through at the border.”
Photos distributed by the ABF present the image of the gun in its case, as well as a scan of the passenger’s luggage, with the gun clearly visible among the rest of her possessions.
While travellers on domestic flights within the United States are able to carry firearms in their checked luggage – granted they are unloaded and securely locked away, and the proper authorities have been informed – Australia has much stricter laws surrounding firearms.
In the wake of a 1996 Tasmanian tragedy, in which 35 people lost their lives to a gunman, all automatic and semi-automatic weapons were outlawed in the country. Meanwhile, in the United States, a frightening sum of 6,301 were confiscated at checkpoints as of December 2022, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
For many, the news was broken on social media, with comments sections reflecting the shock – and disapproval – of the masses, with the occasional 007 reference thrown in.
“Smuggling firearms into Australia is a serious offence,” wrote one on Twitter, “and should be met with the full force of the law as it endangers citizen safety.”
“That’s a fantastic bit of security work by our airport staff,” someone commended.
Another had one very important question, asking “how did she get it out of the US to begin with…??? TSA should have caught that at the airport before she even left. Even if it was in a checked bag, it still had to be declared.”
Images: Australian Border Force
This article first appeared on Over60.