Gun culture on the rise as drug gangs engage in arms race
April 19, 2012
Bikie wars spread interstate creating terror
Police struggle to stop spread of guns
Shootings now a nightly occurence in Sydney
FEARS that gun fuelled bikie wars are spreading across Australia continue to grow as authorities in three states try to grapple with the spiralling fire arm problem.
Yesterday NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione warned that a US style gun culture was heading to Australia.
He said in NSW said the shootings between rival bikie and other criminal gangs were generally over drugs, turf or organised crime and previously were resolved with a punch-up.
"Well, those days appear to have gone," Mr Scipione said.
More likely, he believes Australia's biggest city is shifting towards American gun culture, where people settle disputes with firearms.
Nine men have suffered gunshot wounds during 19 shootings in Sydney in April with a total of 52 shootings occurring in Sydney in 2012.
"Perhaps we're moving down the American path where these sorts of disputes are resolved on the end of a handgun," Ms Scipione said.
South Australian Attorney General John Rau has told The Advertiser today that he is concerned about the complex criminal activity behind public outbursts of violence.
A gunman fired up to four shots at the ute of a Hells Angels bikie gang member, hitting him twice as he drove south through Adelaide, just after midnight.
The man, 29, suffered gunshot wounds to his chest and upper arm but was able to drive to Royal Adelaide Hospital's emergency department about 12.30am. Police said the shooting was part of an internal gang feud.
Mr Rau said it was yet another example of why the State Government was trying to push tougher crime laws through Parliament.
"These individuals are emboldened by a sense of invulnerability which creates a risk, particularly to other criminals, but also, unfortunately, to completely innocent members of the public who might happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.
"It demonstrates the tip of a bigger criminal iceberg and all we see occasionally is the tip of that iceberg when something like this occurs.
The shooting was the latest in a series of violent incidents in Adelaide. In January, Comancheros bikie gang member Giovanni Focarelli was shot dead and his father, club president Vince, survived a fourth attempt on his life in a shooting at Dry Creek.
In Queensland drug gangs are rushing to outgun their criminal rivals in a suburban arms race that also has petty crooks and children taking up weapons, reported The Courier-Mail.
Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said he was monitoring the work of the newly established Firearms Investigation Team and revealed he might consider petitioning for extra resources.
On Tuesday, the same day a detective was forced to shoot a man armed with a semi-automatic pistol, the Firearms Investigation Team raided a property near Gympie, 170km north of Brisbane, where they discovered a haul of high-powered weapons. The Courier-Mail believes the stash included handguns, semi-automatic rifles and a silencer.
And farmers in country towns are being targeted by gun thieves, with the 10,000-strong town of Dalby recording more thefts last financial year than the Gold Coast.
Mr Atkinson said police were finding everyone from drug lords to petty criminals - and even children - carrying guns.
"Obviously we have the sharper end with the outlaw motorcycle gangs and organised criminals down to people who function in terms of organised crime at lower levels and in some cases down to juveniles," he said. "And that's very distressing."
With additional reporting by Kate Kyriacou and Brooke Baskin -