An American woman has been arrested in Sydney after flying in from Los Angeles carrying a 24-karat gold-plated handgun in her luggage.
The Australian Border Force (ABF) said in her statement that the 28-year-old woman who arrived in Sydney on Sunday did not hold a permit to import or carry firearms in Australia.
Australia has some of the strictest gun ownership regulations in the world, and it is illegal to “deliberately” import firearms without prior approval. The maximum penalty for this offense in Australia is 10 years imprisonment.
The woman, who was not identified in her statement, appeared in a local court on Monday and was granted bail. Her visa status and whether she continues to stay in Australia will be decided by the courts. Depending on the outcome, she could be expelled from the country, according to the ABF.
ABF Commander Justin Bathurst said the arrests speak to the diligence of military officers and the sophistication of state detection technology.
Bathurst added in his statement that “ABF officers are committed to protecting our communities by working with our law enforcement partners to prevent unregistered firearms from crossing the border.”
Australia is often cited as an example of how tough gun control can succeed in reducing gun deaths.
In April 1996, after a single gunman killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania, the state implemented sweeping gun control measures.
Rapid-fire rifles and shotguns were banned, gun owner licenses were strengthened, and remaining firearms were registered under uniform national standards with a nationwide buyback and amnesty scheme.
Gun violence has reached record levels in the United States, the only country in the world where there are more civilian guns than people. According to the Swiss-based Small Arms Survey (SAS), Australia has about 14 firearms per 100 people, compared to 120 for every 100 people in the US.
The United States also has more gun violence deaths per capita than any other developed country. According to 2019 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) data, the US rate is 8 times higher than Canada, 22 times higher than the European Union, and 23 times higher than Australia.