Young men are arming themselves with illegal guns to fight petty disputes in a trend that is alarming police and has placed Sydney in the midst of another spike in public shootings.
The acting Police Commissioner, Nick Kaldas, has pleaded with young men to ''think about your family and loved ones and what this means'' after a spate of fatal and drive-by shootings already this year.
Three men have been shot in Sydney since Sunday afternoon, including a 24-year-old father, Joshua George, who died from a single wound to the chest after a disagreement at a party the night before.[...]
''We are seeing guns used to settle the most trivial matters,'' Mr Kaldas told Fairfax Media. ''Small debts, arguments over women, domestic tensions, road rage and minor property disputes.[...]Dr Weatherburn said that previously gun crimes had mainly been carried out by ''organised crime gangs'' or were ''the classic domestic homicide/sexual jealousy shootings''.
Now police are worried about the ''idiot factor'' - young men who see guns as the first and only option in petty arguments.[...]
A dispute between two wives in a supermarket [...] led one husband to shoot the other's home.
Police said they seized 6000 to 7000 guns a year but access to firearms was still the big issue.
''The big problem we are facing is the accessibility of weapons,'' Mr Kaldas said. ''Whether it's young men or others in criminal groups, they are getting access to guns and as long as those guns are out there, we are going to see shootings.''