Western Australia gun ban

McGowan capitalises on WA shooting as firearm community fights for fair go

As the McGowan Government in Western Australia capitalises on the Two Rocks school shooting to justify its incoming gun laws, the Western Australia Firearms Community Alliance (WAFCA) has united shooting groups in opposition to them.

“The fight for the ‘Ausie-Fair-Go’ has begun,” WAFCA spokesman Paul Fitzgerald said.

Despite the fact that his government is already well on the way to finalising its long-planned new gun laws, WA Premier Mark McGowan has responded to the Two Rocks shooting by promising “the toughest guns laws in Australia”.

In the process, he brought American gun crime into his rhetoric, saying, “we need to stop ourselves falling into that terrible abyss that America has fallen into.”

He also said that the state’s 360,000 licensed firearms was “far too many” and that “we have to make sure there are fewer guns”.

“In my view, the problem with America is the prevalence of guns and they have no appetite to deal with it — but we’re going to deal with it,” he said.

Nobody was hurt in the Two Rocks incident, in which it is alleged an ex-student fired three shots into the Atlantis Beach Baptist College before being arrested with two rifles in his possession.

Police have indicated the firearms may have been taken from a safe the teenager should not have had access to.

The shooting is a major setback for shooters as they try to talk with the McGowan Government about its proposed new laws. 

Many individual groups, including the Shooting Industry Foundation Australia and the Shooters Union, have met with government representatives, but to date there have been no indications the government is willing to listen.

“We stand firm in our resolve that the McGowan Government and police minister Paul Papalia must enter into genuine consultation with the shooting industry and review the WA Firearms Act, taking a nationally consistent approach and implementing the reform detailed in the Law Reform Commission report of 2016,” SIFA CEO James Walsh said afterwards.

The formation of WAFCA ensures “unilateral representation” of the state’s shooting community, according to Fitzgerald. 

“In an unprecedented invigoration of some 90,000 firearms owners in WA, we have galvanising into a single voice,” he said.

“WAFCA will campaign to safeguard the future of all shooting sports, the unique WA firearms industry and all forms of recreational shooting, whilst ensuring the underlying premise of community safety is maintained as it has been for more than 50 years.”

WAFC is made up of a large number of organisations, ranging from the WA Recreational Family Fishing Alliance and WA Grain Group Inc to the WA Firearms Traders Association and the Shooting Industry Foundation Australia. A number of gun dealers are also part of it. 




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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.