WA bans high-calibre firearms and ammunition

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Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan today announced a ban on high-powered firearms and ammunition capable of accurate long-range shooting, claiming police and the public were at risk “and the consequences could be devastating”.

The ban will come into effect on 1 July, by which time the owners of 284 currently licensed firearms will have to surrender them or sell them interstate. 

The ban will outlaw 56 types of firearms as well as the 19 calibres as listed below.

The ban was specifically requested by the WA Police Force, according to Acting WA Police Commissioner Kylie Whiteley, who implied police feared being targeted by large-calibre long-range weapons.

“Some projectiles from these firearms are capable of penetrating the body armour worn by police officers, as well as most hard surfaces of police vehicles from up to two kilometres away,” she said. 

“With specific types of rounds, a bullet from these firearms can also penetrate WA Police Force armoured vehicles.”

She gave no examples of this having ever happened anywhere in Australia, nor did she mention any specific threats.

However, Police Minister Paul Papalia pointed to the seizure of “very high-powered firearms being incorrectly stored in a secret underground bunker” this week in suburban Perth.

He added that “most” of the weapons where licensed, as was the owner; reports so far hint that the only allegedly illegal item was a suppressor. 

There is a strong feeling in the shooting community that the raid was insubstantial in its outcome and is being used as a propaganda tool by Papalia and the police to push their agenda for tighter gun laws.

This belief was underscored by Papilla’s comment that, “unbelievably, the worst offence this individual has allegedly committed is failing to apply to the local council for approval to build the bunker and underground shooting range.”

This did not prevent both the government and police linking the raid to their decision to ban powerful calibres.

Papalia said the raid showed “how outdated and weak our 50-year-old firearms laws are here in WA, and that’s why the Western Australian Police Force have asked us to completely overhaul them”.

McGowan promised his government would fund a buyback of those banned firearms that were surrendered to police.  

The banned cartridges are:

  • .340 Weatherby Magnum
  • .28 Nosler
  • .330 Dakota
  • .338 Lapua
  • .300 Lapua Magnum
  • .338-404 Jeffery
  • .338 Norma Magnum
  • .338-378 Weatherby Magnum
  • 338 Edge
  • .30-378 Weatherby Magnum
  • .300 Norma Magnum
  • .375 A-Square
  • .375 Gibbs
  • .460 Steyr
  • .375 CheyTac
  • .416 Barrett
  • .408 CheyTac
  • .50 BMG
  • .55 Boys




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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.

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