Five shootings in five hours in Sydney
Five shootings in five hours have narrowly missed innocent children and elderly residents and taken western Sydney's soaring gun violence to a new level.
Police have called for calm and the federal government has suggested national initiatives to curb the latest shooting spree, which started in January and has worsened in April.
A turf war between rival bikie gangs the Hells Angels and the Nomads is believed to be behind four of the shootings that began from midnight (AEST) on Tuesday.
A house at Merrylands, another at Granville and two tattoo parlours at Merrylands and Baulkham Hills were linked to the Hells Angels.
Three elderly people - two of whom are believed to be the parents of a Hells Angels' member - were home when at least four bullets hit the front wall of the house in Harris St, Merrylands.
Police believe a shooting at Pemulwuy on Monday targeted the Nomads which sparked Tuesday's counterattack.
The fifth shooting on Tuesday occurred when someone shot at a Northmead home where two adults and five children were asleep.
Bullets smashed through bedroom windows on the top storey of the two-level home, in an incident police believe was linked to a business dispute and separate from the bikie shootings.
NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says using guns in any disagreement is not the answer.
"It concerns that me that people would resort to weapons to settle any sort of dispute particularly when we're talking about a family home," Mr O'Farrell told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the most recent shootings, which bring April's tally in western Sydney to 19, were no cause for panic across NSW.
"There is not a serious concern that should be sweeping this state that everyone is under threat," he said at the same media conference.
NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson said Mr O'Farrell has done nothing to curb the violence and reiterated calls for crisis talks among law enforcement agencies and cash rewards of up to $50,000 for information leading to convictions.
Police launched Strike Force Kinnarra on Tuesday which will target the bikie conflict and will mean 100 extra officers will be on the streets and 18 detectives from State Crime Command.
The heightened response accompanies a number of other operations including Strike Force Spartan that began in January.
Mr Scipione said no amount of resources can stop shootings by offenders who plan their attacks to avoid police.
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) released figures on Tuesday showing there were 100 drive-by shootings in 2011, up 41 per cent, from 2010.
In 2012, there have been 52 shooting incidents, police say.
Federal Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare says Customs agents should be embedded into the NSW Police Force to assist with a new firearms intelligence unit that was needed to collect state and federal intelligence on the illegal gun trade.
The 15 different databases that hold firearm information in Australia should be brought together under the new body, he added.
Samantha Lee, chair of the National Coalition for Gun Control, said Prime Minister Julia Gillard should step in and work with the states to ban semi-automatic handguns.
"Handguns are the weapon of choice for drive-by shootings because they are easy to conceal, lightweight and very high powered," Ms Lee told reporters on Tuesday.
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