Despite some of the strictest gun laws in the world, Australia’s criminal underworld still manages to get its hands on a wide range of weapons.
Criminologists Andrew Goldsmith and Mark Halsey are investigating the ascent of a gun culture within organised crime gangs – seeking answers behind the increasing rate of offences involving handguns and other firearms
The secretive nature of organised crime is a distinct impediment to this research, but the professors have done a range of work with the prison system, and have found there is much to be learned from those convicted of crimes involving guns once they’re in prison.
“Going in to prisons and talking to convicted offenders of drug and gun crimes isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a walk in the park.
"They’re generally distrustful of us at first and scared the information they share could make their sentence worse, but we have found honesty is our best weapon against this,” Professor Goldsmith said.
“We need to better understand what drives crime and the roles of different perpetrators – what it means to actually pull the trigger instead of merely displaying a gun.
"There are also a lot of questions about how the illicit gun market has changed in recent years, so we can develop a picture of where guns are coming from and how criminals find them,” Professor Halsey said.