Western Australian gun laws

WA has a gun problem? Not according to these figures

Recently released figures from Western Australia show the average shooter owns fewer than four firearms and only 178 of the state’s approximately 89,000 licensed gun owners have more than 25 firearms.

Meanwhile, the McGowan government has said it plans to completely re-write the Firearms Act and its regulations, which date from the 1970s, with “community safety” as the number one consideration.

Responding to a question in the state’s Upper House on August 10, Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson stated there were an average of 3.69 firearms per licence in the state, with 178 licensees owing more than 25 guns. Of those 178, 34 licensees had more than 50 firearms and 26 licensees had more than 100 firearms.

According to the WAPOL-provided figures, the largest number of firearms owned by a licensee in WA was 317, although no details were provided as to whether this was an individual licence or a business licence for something like a paintball field or security company.

While the provided figures do not include licensed dealers, they do appear to include licensed collectors. The figures also do not specify the type of firearms, meaning it is not possible at present to ascertain how many of the guns referred to are innocuous items like paintball markers or air rifles. 

The majority of the approximately 349,000 firearms in WA are understood to be Category A firearms, including shotguns, manually operated .22 rifles, and paintball markers.

Firearms have become a hot political topic in the west this year, starting with the March publication of allegedly de-identified maps in The West Australian newspaper and Daily Mail website showing the location of registered firearms in the Greater Perth region and elsewhere in the state.

Work undertaken by Shooters Union and individually affected licensees rapidly showed it was possible to identify addresses from the map with varying degrees of accuracy, despite claims to the contrary from Police Minister Paul Papalia and WAPOL.

Western Australia already has by far the most draconian laws in Australia, restricting licensed shooters from acquiring additional guns in calibres similar to those they already own (even Category A firearms) and preventing shooters from using individual guns they are not specifically licensed for (even if they have the appropriate category on their licence)

The state has previously sent licensees letters asking them to show proof of their shooting skills/experience to continue to own rifles larger than .308 calibre, and charging $256 for the equivalent of a permit to acquire.




Like it? Share with your friends!

What's Your Reaction?

super super
fail fail
fun fun
bad bad
hate hate
lol lol
love love
omg omg
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.