Western Australia gun law reform

WA’s biggest-ever epetition opposes draconian new gun laws

A petition against the WA Labor Government’s proposed new gun laws is expected to exceed 30,000 signatures today and become the largest epetition ever presented to the WA Parliament since they were introduced 15 years ago.

The Firearms Bill 2024, introduced by WA Police Minister Paul Papalia after what has been called “sham” consultation, will introduce gun ownership limits, compulsory physical and mental health checks for gun owners, and other harsh measures.

See the follow-up to this story here.

The Bill has created serious concerns about the coercive powers it will give police, who will be able to arrest people simply for refusing to answer questions in relation to inquiries made under the gun laws.

The laws will remove about a third of legally guns from the state, at the expense of gun owners who have been offered pitiful sums in a limited buyback scheme. Firearms not surrendered before the deadline will be confiscated, but many gun owners have reportedly not handed in guns because they do not yet know if they will retain a licence or not. 

Papalia’s dismissive response to the outcry was to tell shooters to “get another hobby”.

Former Shooters Fishers and Farmers WA MP Rick Mazza, who started the epetition, said he was confident the result would have an impact.

“The number of signatures shows there is a lot of interest in the issue, and many of those who have signed it are not shooters,” he said.

“The Bill has the appearance of something written by the architects of a police state, and it infringes on many rights of citizens including the right to silence.

“There’s a lot of government overreach in the Bill. The government has been somewhat totalitarian in its approach.”

Shooters have repeated stated that the gun laws specifically target law-abiding, licensed gun owners while containing nothing that tackles criminal elements using guns.

As with WA’s current gun laws, the new legislation does not align with the way firearms are regulated in any other states or territories. 

Among other things, the petition calls for “a full public inquiry into the policy of the Bill” and points out that despite “promises of consultation, the Bill is currently with a parliamentary committee whose restricted terms of reference prohibit it from conducting a full public inquiry”. 

Currently, the largest epetition ever presented to the WA parliament opposed the highly controversial Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act, which the government was forced to abandon. It achieved 29,714 signatures before being tabled last year.

The petition was open to residents of WA only.

Update: it has now closed.




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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.