Western Australia gun law

Papalia refuses to back down despite growing opposition to WA gun laws

The battle against WA Police Minister Paul Papalia’s new gun laws is escalating rapidly, with a petition by shooters exceeding 8000 signatures in only a week but Papalia steadfastly refusing to give ground.

This petition merely asks that the state government extends the consultation period from one to three months “to ensure all stakeholders have the appropriate time to understand the Government’s proposed changes and provide feedback ahead of new legislation being introduced to Parliament in 2024”.

Few online petitions put to the WA parliament exceed 10,000 signatures but this one, which closes on 24 November, is well on track to do so. 

Papalia claims there are “years of engagement” already behind the law reforms and also says he has consulted with shooting representatives.

However, shooting groups continue to deny they’ve had any worthwhile contact with the police minster. 

The Western Australia Firearms Community Alliance (WAFCA) is urging shooters to in WA to sign the e-petition and to persuade friends and family to do the same. 

“We have seen this government backtrack on unpopular decisions in the past,” it said in a statement on social media.

The petition was put up by the SSAA and supported the Nationals.

“The firearm reform paper is a complex, 62-page document which proposes significant changes to all aspects of the licensing and regulatory regime … yet firearm owners are being given less than a month to make a submission regarding these detailed and complicated changes,” Nationals MLC Colin de Grussa told The Countryman.

Despite de Grussa’s support for the petition, he also said the Nationals would likely support many of the changes proposed by the new legislation.

The legislation will include limiting the number of firearms a shooter may own to five or 10, introducing mandatory annual physical and mental health checks on shooters, and other changes that Papalia has boasted will reduce the numbers of legally owned firearms in the state by about one-third.

Yet they appear to include little or nothing that tackles illegal gun use.

Another petition currently open has only had 669 signatures despite making a more direct call for the government to reduce the significant impacts of the proposed laws on law-abiding shooters.  

An earlier e-petition opposing changes to the firearms laws closed in August with a total of 5750 signatures. 

Another in May, when the issue of WA’s new gun laws was beginning to brew, attracted less than 600 signatures.

WA residents can sign the petition at this link. Find out more on the WAFCA website, including how to make a submission in response to the proposed laws.




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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.