Western Australia gun ban

The irony of McGowan: WA proves the National Firearms Agreement is dead

The much-vaunted National Firearms Agreement (NFA) is officially dead and buried following Western Australia’s unilateral changes to its arms laws.

In recent weeks, the Mark McGowan-led ALP state government of WA has announced plans for compulsory mental health assessments for shooters and banned nearly 60 types of rifles and 19 ammunition calibres.

None of the banned rifles or calibres have ever been used in a crime in Australia (much less WA) and the McGowan Government has utterly refused to engage in good faith consultation with the WA shooting community on any of the changes.

It has repeatedly cast slurs at the nearly 90,000 shooters in the state as part of its laughably flimsy justifications for introducing the new laws.

The fact that no one at any level of state or commonwealth government seemed to have any problem with WA’s law changes very clearly said the NFA was no longer in play.

For the past 25 years, every time anyone has suggested even the most minor, commonsense changes to state gun laws which might ease the regulatory burden on licensed, law-abiding firearm users, the anti-gun crowd have screeched about “watering down gun laws” and legislators have said “‘”we can’t do that, it goes against the National Firearms Agreement”.

Western Australia has never been fully compliant with the NFA and the latest double-barrelled attack on licensed gun owners in the state by the McGowan Government means the state’s firearm laws and the NFA are, at best, nodding acquaintances.

The principles of the NFA go both ways and if any attempt to make the laws better for shooters is met with outcry and resistance by politicians, the media and so-called gun safety groups, then so too should any changes which make things worse for shooters.

You can’t have it both ways.

If the NFA is supposed to represent the ‘Gold Standard’ of gun laws – and it doesn’t remotely do that – then that means you can’t make them stricter just because you’ve got an irrational hatred of farming or sporting equipment.

If we ever have another sensible, fair, evidence-based law change that benefits shooters blocked because “it doesn’t comply with the NFA”, we will be pointing out that WA’s firearms laws generally do not comply with the NFA, so therefore that excuse is invalid.

The NFA has always been a gentlemen’s agreement of sorts; it is not binding, it is not legislation, and as we’ve seen in WA, the penalties for completely ignoring it are non-existent.

There has to be some poetic justice that Mark McGowan, the most anti-gun premier in the country, has effectively killed the integrity of the National Firearms Agreement with his irrational hatred of guns and licensed shooters.

Graham Park is the President of Shooters Union of Australia.




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Graham Park

Graham is the President of Shooters Union Australia and is also a keen lover of all things that go bang. With over 40  years of experience in the firearms community and industry, Graham is well placed to share information on a wide variety of firearm related issues. He runs a cattle property and is also a well published writer, with an Australian best-selling book (health related) and many, many published articles in Australian and international media.