Glock ghost guns up for grabs on dark web
According to a new study by the Australian National University (ANU), Australians have online access to a wide variety of undetectable “ghost rifles” as well as a significant market for 3D printed weapon designs and kits.
According to the report, traditional handguns were the most popular on the dark internet as illegal marketers offered stealth packaging to Australia.
The semi-automatic Glock pistols made up over half (57 percent) of all handguns sold.
“There are a lot of Glocks. They are the standard law enforcement arm as you can see in action films, ”said lead writer Professor Roderic Broadhurst of the ANU Cybercrime Observatory.
“They’re trendy, chic, and popular with gangsters and law enforcement agencies.
“We think they’re so popular on the dark web because they can be broken down into their pieces and sent in pieces by post.”
Researchers say dark web weapon vendors pride themselves on their methods of concealment and their ability to turn weapons into “ghostly” weapons.
“These Glocks are priced roughly the same as their offline equivalent, but they are unregistered or their serial numbers have been deleted,” said Professor Broadhurst.
“It makes them theoretically undetectable.”
The study, produced for the Australian Institute of Criminology, tracked the darknet markets between July and December 2019 and found 2,124 guns for sale – 1,497 handguns, 219 rifles, 41 submachine guns and 34 shotguns.
The most common categories were small arms (70.5 percent), followed by rifles (10.3 percent), ammunition (3.7 percent), submachine guns (1.9 percent), explosives (1.7 percent), shotguns (1, 6 percent) and accessories (1.1 percent). Digital products (5.3 percent), CBRN (0.64 percent) and various weapons (3.3 percent) were only listed on bus markets.
In addition to decommissioned military weapons, ammunition, and counterfeit gun advertisements by various law enforcement agencies, 3D printed gun kits and blueprints are also an emerging online product.
“We were surprised at how much self-help material is available. There’s a kit for cutting frames for guns, ”said Professor Broadhurst.
“It’s like selling a sample for a dress. You can then 3D print the main body of the weapon, but without the unique serial numbers required for legally manufactured weapon frames. “
The researchers say that hybrid metal and plastic 3D-printed components and kits are also available for sale online.
“3D printing is getting better and better and we’re definitely seeing a higher class of products. They used to think plastic was too brittle, but they use harder plastics, ”said Professor Broadhurst.
“It’s like standing on a piece of Lego – those pieces won’t break.”
The researchers say firearms prices fluctuated significantly depending on their type and caliber, and ammunition was often sold with a firearm, with Bitcoin typically being the preferred method of payment.
“In Australia, where gun ownership is strictly regulated, illegal guns are sought after by organized crime groups and criminals. A gun in the wrong hands can cause harm, ”said Professor Broadhurst.
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