WA gun laws: yes, they will take guns away and they will increase police powers

Analysis of the proposed new Western Australian firearms laws has shown gun owners’ worst fears are justified: the laws have been written with the express purpose of taking firearms from law-abiding owners.

They will reduce the number of firearms and the number of gun owners in the state, and they also provide police with “draconian” new powers.

Details of the analysis are contained in a letter sent to the WA Premier, Roger Cook, by the Western Australian Firearms Community Alliance. 

“The central aim of the Bill appears to be to achieve a substantial outright reduction in the number of lawfully obtained and possessed firearms, which will do nothing to address the issues of unlawfully possessed firearms being used in criminal activities,” WAFCA spokesman Paul Fitzgerald said in the letter. 

“The Bill has been presented without any explanation of the causal nexus supposed to exist between the act of reducing lawful firearm ownership and reduction in harm.

“The draft Firearms Bill in its current form is another example of the police minister submitting to the interests of WAPOL instead of the interests of the people of Western Australia.

“In several key respects the Bill contains draconian policing powers which are unprecedented as regulatory tools.”

Premier Cook claimed recently that years of “exhaustive consultation has gone into the construction of the new legislation” but Mr Fitzgerald pointed out that this can only have referred to consultation many years ago that had produced a Law Reform Commission report with recommendations that have largely been ignored in drafting the current laws.

“It is disingenuous to claim that this Bill is the product of past consultation and to imply it represents some form of agreed position on the part of the community of lawful Western Australian firearm owners,” Fitzgerald wrote. “That is simply not correct.”

He said much of the new Bill was “entirely contrary to the principal recommendation of the Law Reform Commission”.

Fitzgerald took issue with claims by Cook and Papalia that WA had a gun problem, pointing out there is no evidence to support this. 

He said nothing had been presented to back up claims that capping gun ownership to five or 10 firearms would have any impact on the number of weapons stolen or the number of illegal guns in circulation.

“The imposition of an arbitrary limit on firearms ownership has no demonstrable connection to any actual risk,” he told Cook.

“Statistics show that there has not been any trend towards an increase in ‘firearms being used for nefarious purposes’ (which presumably means crimes). WAPOL’s own data clearly shows that the majority of firearms thefts are of single firearms.”

He warned that police powers in the new Bill should be a concern to all Western Australians.

“Expansive search and entry powers are now to be found in the Firearms Bill, demonstrating that where WAPOL can expand their power in one area, they will seek to apply it elsewhere,” he wrote. “This should concern all Western Australians.”

He said one clause would deny a citizen’s right to silence, instead making it an offence to refuse to answer questions police might ask in relation to the proposed Firearms Act.

We will have more details on the new legislation in coming stories. 

The full text of the letter is available at this link




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.

One Comment

  1. I have yet to hear anyone say NO to the WA Government in a way that is a total rejection of their proposal to strip Firearms from their owners for no reason whatsoever other than a brain fart from a Politician !This disease will spread if allowed to go unchallenged, every one is fearful of punitive measures by Police for even having an opinion contrary to the narrative being used to justify the unjustified actions of Government. This is where we are now in Australia, “ big brother “ is alive in Australia.