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An American Woman Tried to Bring a 24-Carat Gold Handgun to Australia. Then She Was Arrested.

The 28-year-old did not have a permit to import or possess a firearm in Australia. 

gold gun australia Australian Border Force

On Sunday, the Australian Border Force (ABF) arrested a U.S. traveler after finding an undeclared 24-carat gold gun stowed away in her luggage.  

According to a statement released by authorities, the 28-year-old woman, who was flying from Los Angeles to Syndey, did not have a permit to import or possess the firearm in Australia. The weapon was also unregistered. The unidentified woman was later taken into custody and charged under section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901, which prohibits any person from unlawfully importing firearms, knives, counterfeit credit cards, or radioactive substances into the country. The offense could result in a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.  

The next day, the woman appeared before the Downing Centre Local Court in Syndey where she was granted bail. However, depending on the outcome of the legal proceedings, there’s still a possibility that she could have her visa canceled, as well as be removed from Australia. ABF Enforcement and Detained Goods East Commander Justin Bathurst praised the skills of agency officers, along with the “sophisticated” airport security scanners for detecting the firearm and helping catch the perpetrator.  

An X-ray image detected a 24-carat gold handgun inside a woman’s luggage at the airport in Australia Australian Border Force

“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,” said Bathurst in a statement. “The ABF is Australia’s first and most important line of defense. ABF officers are committed to protecting our community by working with law enforcement partners to prevent items like unregistered firearms from getting through at the border.” 

Gun laws are notoriously strict in Australia following a mass shooting that took place in 1996 in Tasmania and killed 35 people. In the wake of the tragedy, the government cracked down and banned all automatic and semi-automatic weapons. They also confiscated over 600,000 unlicensed firearms in a mandatory gun buyback program.  

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