An American man carrying a loaded automatic pistol in his carry-on baggage was arrested at Sydney International Airport earlier this year, it has been revealed.
The man was sentenced in Central Local Court last Thursday.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers were called to a security screening area of the airport in March after a worker monitoring an X-ray machine detected a suspected firearm (a handgun) in the 47-year-old man’s carry-on baggage.
Police inspected the bag and found a loaded Ruger pistol, which they seized.
The man was stopped from boarding a flight to the United States and charged with the following offences:
- Possessing an unauthorised pistol contrary to section 7(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW); and
- Carrying weapons through a screening point contrary to section 47(3) of the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 (Commonwealth).
He pleaded guilty to both charges last month, was convicted last week and sentenced on the first charge to a 12-month community corrections order.
On the second charge, he was sentenced to a 12-month good behaviour bond with a $500 surety under section 20(1)(a) of the Crimes Act 1914 (Commonwealth).
AFP Sydney Airport Police Commander Superintendent Matthew Parsons said the AFP worked closely with security screening staff at the airport to ensure public safety.
“This incident had the potential to have deadly consequences for other travellers and airport customers even if the weapon had been discharged accidentally,” Parsons said.
“The diligent work of both security screening staff and AFP officers ensures airports remain safe for the public.”
Peter Needham adds: The AFP statement leaves one question unanswered. The man was detected as he was leaving Australia. Did he bring the gun into Australia earlier, or does the second charge reflect that?
From the photo, the firearm appears to be a .22 calibre Ruger LCP II pistol: compact, lightweight and capable of holding 10 rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber. Whatever the specifications, it’s not something you want on a commercial airline flight.
Edited by Peter Needham