An American woman has been detained at an Australian airport after arriving with a 24-carat gold-plated pistol in her luggage.
The 28-year-old woman, whom authorities did not identify, was arrested and charged shortly after arriving at Sydney airport from Los Angeles on Sunday, the Australian Border Force said in a statement. Press release.
The border force said the woman had not declared the golden weapon, nor did she have a permit to import or possess the weapon in Australia, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world.
The woman was charged under section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901, which makes it illegal for a person to «intentionally» import firearms without prior authorization. If convicted, a person can face up to 10 years in prison, the border force said.
ABF Enforcement and Detention Goods East Commander Justin Bathurst attributed the discovery to the diligence of border force officers and the use of sophisticated detection technology.
“Time and time again, we have seen how good ABF officers are at identifying and stopping illegal and highly dangerous goods from crossing the Australian border,” Bathurst said.
“The ABF is Australia’s first and most important line of defence,” he said. “ABF officers are committed to protecting our community by working with law enforcement partners to prevent items like unregistered firearms from passing across the border.”
The woman appeared before a local court on Monday and was given bail, the border force said. She could see her visa canceled and face deportation from Australia, depending on the outcome of the legal proceedings, she said.
Gun control advocates have long championed Australia’s gun laws as an example of a swift and effective national response to a large mass shooting.
The country’s government introduced sweeping gun control legislation following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, in which a gunman opened fire on shopkeepers and tourists in an attack that left 35 dead.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the Australian government banned all automatic and semi-automatic weapons and implemented a compulsory buy-back scheme that resulted in the collection and destruction of more than 600,000 firearms.
Firearm-related homicides in the country fell 7.5 percent annually after the reforms, while firearm-related suicides have also declined. according to an australian study.