New gun laws that will outlaw a third of Western Australia’s current licensed firearms were written and approved by the state’s Cabinet last December, well before Police Minister Paul Papalia began the community consultation process.
It has been revealed that the new laws have been designed to slash the number of legally owned firearms by more than a third, or about 130,000 guns, and that obtaining firearms will become even more difficult than it already is.
Documents obtained by the Western Australia Firearms Community Alliance (WAFCA) shows the laws will “include an age limit of 80 for firearms owners, health assessments and restrictions on property letters”.
The laws will also impose gun ownership limits of five firearms on hunters and 10 on target shooters and primary producers.
Papalia, who has already unilaterally banned certain calibres and firearms from WA, continues to paint his law reforms as a public safety issue.
However, WAFC says the laws are “impotent” on that front.
“The Police Minister doesn’t have the guts to take on organised crime and the bikies,” WAFCA spokesman Paul Fitzgerald said.
“Instead, he is going after a quick headline by placing restrictions on the law-abiding firearms community.
“The Government’s rewrite of the Firearms Act is sham. It is based on a confected problem, rubbery numbers and dodgy consultation.
“There is no evidence to suggested the licensed firearm-owning community is doing anything wrong with their firearms.
“There is not a proliferation of firearms in WA, there is not a gun problem and this is not the United States.”
Fitzgerald demanded the government scrap plans to implement the laws and look instead at “genuine reform”.
He was joined in his calls by Shooting Industry Foundation Australia (SIFA) CEO James Walsh, who said, “Premier Roger Cook must step in and pull his police minister into line and ensure that the West Australian shooting industry and law-abiding people are not unnecessarily impacted by this heavy handed, oppressive approach.
“Papalia entered into sham consultation with shooting industry stakeholders.
“The documents also show that proposed changes are un-evidenced with the sole goal of taking firearms off law abiding people and not criminals.”