Western Australia gun ban

WA farmers tell Papalia: We need recreational shooters

Western Australian farmers have told Police Minister Paul Papalia that they need the services of recreational shooters to control pest animals, urging him to consider this fact in his re-write of the state’s gun laws.

“We tried to make the point to the Police Minister that WA’s farmers don’t necessarily have time to do the vermin shooting on their properties, so we actually need the recreational shooters to do that,” WAFarmers president John Hassell told Farm Weekly.

He cited pigs and camels as particular problems and also suggested that the state government allow recreational shooters to “shoot vermin on crown land”. 

Hassell’s statements were in stark contrast to previous comments by WAFarmers CEO Trevor Whittington, who said, “If the Police Minister was serious about reducing the risk of firearms to the community, he would ban anyone who is not a primary producer or competition shooter from owning a firearm.”   

WAFarmers is on the Primary Producers Firearm Advisory Board (PPFAB), a group selected and chaired by Papalia himself, made up of agricultural interests only.

Papalia has continually rejected the firearms community’s attempts to included in the creation of the new gun laws and has so far made no efforts to engage in meaningful discussions with representatives of shooting organisations.

To deal with the situation, and Papilla’s apparent anti-gun position, WA’s shooters united to form the Western Australian Firearms Community Alliance (WAFCA).

In light of Hassell’s comments, Shooting Industry Foundation Australia CEO James Walsh said, “Paul Papalia must immediately consult with WAFCA and direct legislative changes towards illegal possession and use of illicit firearms.”

Meanwhile, Farm Weekly also reported the Australian tax Office (ATO) may ultimately decide who is eligible for a proposed new category of firearm licence specifically for primary producers. 

It quoted PPFAB member and representative of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA, Sheldon Mumby, as saying, “My understanding is it will depend on the ATO’s view of your business”.

Mumby also expressed his support for recreational shooters and their role in vermin control.




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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.