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10,000 Australian police guns for US market

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Two Australian state police forces have struck a deal to export surplus weapons to the USA to offset the cost of the force upgrading to semi-automatic weapons. The deal, made with weapons manufacturer Smith & Wesson will see 10,000 police-issue handguns sold on the American arms market. The value of the agreement has not been revealed, but a similar deal struck 10 years ago with Smith & Wesson involving 3,674 guns saved Queensland police $1 million on the cost of an upgrade. South Australia will export 2,405 revolvers, and Victoria will sell 7,513 revolvers back to the US manufacturer. A spokeswoman for Smith & Wesson said products traded in usually ended up on the US retail market. A University of Sydney academic has questioned the wisdom of the lucrative export deal. "Australia leads the world with gun buybacks and destruction programs," firearm injury prevention specialist Philip Alpers told The Australian. "Yet here we have police and federal government licensing the export of several tonnes of concealable handguns to the only developed nation which suffers Third World rates of gun death and injury." A spokesperson for the Defence Export Control Office (DECO) said it was not its policy to impose conditions regarding the ultimate end-user of goods when they were returning to manufacturers in the USA.

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