Robbery: Shooters reject WA’s insulting gun buyback prices

Australia’s major shooting and firearm organisations are united in their rejection of the prices being offered by the WA Government to shooters as part of a controversial buyback connected to a complete rewrite of the state’s firearms legislation.

Under the new laws, to be introduced to parliament next week, shooters will be subject to hard limits on the number of firearms they can own – generally five, with farmers and some competition shooters able to have 10.

Firearms in excess of this will have to be disposed of, and the WA Government has announced it will be running a voluntary buyback program for shooters – but the prices being offered are arbitrary to say the least, and have been condemned by firearm organisations and individual shooters alike. 

The prices on offer are based on whether a gun is less than six years old or not, and are as follows:

Firearms less than six years old:

  • Revolver, $1000
  • Semi-automatic handgun, $833
  • Double-barrelled shotgun, $750
  • Single-barrel shotgun, $625
  • Centrefire rifle, $938
  • Rimfire or air rifle, $416

Firearms more than six years old:

  • Revolver, $560
  • Semi-automatic handgun, $466
  • Double-barrelled shotgun, $420
  • Single-barrel shotgun, $350
  • Centrefire rifles, $525
  • Rimfire or air rifle, $233

The prices clearly do not come close to reflecting what the majority of firearms in those categories are worth, and have unsurprisingly been rejected by representatives from the major national firearm organisations.

Shooters Union president Graham Park said the prices were akin to robbery, made worse by the fact the WA Government was being so open in its contempt for the shooters it had issued licences and permits to acquire for the guns in the first place.

“In the majority of cases, the sums being offered are not even close to what these items cost to buy new or on the open market, and the West Australian government is essentially robbing those licensed gun owners by refusing to pay what their legally acquired firearms are actually worth,” he said.

“Shooters — who have committed no crime, who have done nothing wrong, and actually paid WAPOL fairly substantial sums of money to legally acquire these guns in the first place — are going to be significantly out of pocket.

“There’s no other way to describe it — Western Australian gun owners are being robbed, and the fact the WA Government is being so open about it shows the true contempt it has for its citizens.”

Western Australia Firearms Community Alliance representative Paul Fitzgerald spoke on ABC Radio Perth Mornings on Wednesday, saying there had been no consultation with them about the buyback at all.

“We only learnt about it through the media this morning,” he said. 

“The mere suggestion from the Police Minister that he can introduce a gun buyback and come up with some arbitrary figures is completely disrespectful to the law-abiding licensed firearm owning community in Western Australia.”

In another interview on 6PR, Fitzgerald referred to a historic shotgun valued at around $200,000 currently held in a private collection, which is worth $420 under Papalia’s buyback.

“He’s a hundred and ninety-nine and a half thousand dollars short.”

Police Minister Paul Papalia claimed the buyback prices had been developed with the industry, but no one in the industry seems to know anything about it.

Fitzgerald denied any knowledge of it, and Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA) CEO James Walsh said SIFA had certainly not been consulted, and nor had the Western Australia Firearms Trader’s Association.

“We’re trying to work out where [the government] got these figures from,” he said. “We don’t know who they’ve spoken to, but clearly whoever they spoke to is not an industry expert and has no understanding of the current market.

“The prices offered are insulting, but to be honest this whole [firearms law change] process has been insulting.”




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Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.