Australian police have confiscated a World War II Nazi submachine gun and detained a 40-year old driver during a traffic stop north of Sydney.
A 40-year old man was arrested during a traffic stop on the Central Coast between Sydney and Newcastle Sunday evening by Australian Police when they seized a WWII-era submachine gun and ammo from the vehicle. Authorities found a bag containing an MP40 submachine gun with a missing barrel, a magazine and 60 rounds of ammunition.
The man was held without bail and was scheduled to appear in court earlier this week. He was charged with possessing a prohibited firearm and ammunition without a permit.
Police reported that the gun was missing its barrel, although they also curiously report that it appeared to be in "working order" (yes, we're as stumped as you are on that one).
The New South Wales Police Force Facebook page also reported that the bag containing the gun contained "60 rounds of various ammunition." Does this mean that the bag contained a mix of different calibers, or what?
At this point, with the scant information available on the seizure of the weapon, it's difficult to draw any conclusions. Authorities say that they will be running forensic tests on the gun to determine if it is connected to any prior shootings. Given that it was missing its barrel, that seems, at first blush, a little dubious of an endeavor.
Shane Casey, senior curator at the Australian War Memorial, called the MP40 submachine gun "a very robust weapon and was also souvenired during the war by Allied soldiers."
"Initially it would have been designed to be carried by troops in vehicles or paratroopers because it's quite small and has a folding stock," Casey said. "Anyone who is interested in German army history or the second World War would recognize this weapon immediately."
Australia has strict gun laws that dictate that all firearms must be registered. Yet, it is estimated that there are approximately 260,000 illicit guns in circulation in the country.
The BBC reported that "gun crimes dropped rapidly" following the 1996 country-wide gun confiscation. This is incorrect. The overall rate of firearm related homicides had been declining since 1969, but the 1996 gun confiscation has led to an increase in crime - both gun and non-gun crime - and little relief to its citizens.
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