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With illegal handguns costing $15,000 and more on the black market, desperate criminals have even resorted to converting ear-piercing instruments and spear guns into makeshift pistols.
“About 10 per cent of the weapons we are seizing are homemade,’’ said Detective Superintendent Mick Plotecki, newly appointed boss of the Firearms and Organised Crime Squad.
“Most of the crooks, especially young guys, think of themselves as gangsters and want handguns and are willing to pay big money,” he said.
“They want to be seen with these pistols like in rap songs and movies. They will pay $10,000 to $15,000 for a pistol.’’
Supt Plotecki said there was anecdotal evidence the outlaw motorcycle gangs were targeting people who have the skills to make weapons.
He said criminals will use anything to make a weapon, often using parts of old guns with pieces of wood as well as bits of tubing to make rudimentary silencers.
WESTERN Sydney is taking up arms, with licensed handgun owners occupying five of the top 10 postcodes.
Gun control lobbyists say the relatively high number of firearm owners in places like Mt Druitt, Campbelltown and Westmead is likely the result of residents arming themselves against drive-by shootings and violent crime.