Western Australia’s unrelenting assault on shooters continues with news the McGowan Labor Government there is considering imposing limits on the number of firearms a licensee can hold.
The West Australian Farmers Federation has reported in a member communication that the government plans to implement a five-gun limit for recreational shooters (hunters) and a 10-gun limit for competition target shooters.
The move comes as part of plans to establish a special gun licence for primary producers as part of an overhaul of the state’s gun laws — for the worse, from a shooter perspective.
It is understood that corporate licences and collector’s licences would be exempt from the firearm limits, while a primary producer’s licence would have a limit of 10 firearms per property; primary producers could apply to own additional firearms for competition use beyond that.
Firearms with interchangeable calibres (eg the Blaser R8 or the CZ 457) will reportedly count as one firearm for the purposes of the limits, although the additional barrels would still need to be registered.
There is currently no information on whether shooters with more than five guns will be “grandfathered in” or forced to dispose of the excess firearms, and the full details of the proposal have not yet been made public.
Shooters Union president Graham Park blasted the leaked proposal as “a classic case of divide and conquer” and said implementing limits on the number of guns licensed people could own was “ignorant crap”.
“They’re very obviously trying to carve out the primary producer sector to silence opposition from them, so they can then ride roughshod over hunters and target shooters knowing the general public won’t care because it doesn’t affect farmers,” he said.
“It’s a classic case of divide and conquer, and it’s disgusting.”
Mr Park said a limit of five guns was ridiculously low and demanded the proposal be scrapped immediately.
“A lot of our members own more than five .22 rifles, never mind all the other calibres in the gunsafe,” he said.
“We don’t tell golfers how many golf clubs they can have in their bag, we don’t tell motorsports drivers how many cars they can own, and we don’t tell fishers how many fishing knives they can have — so why is it OK to dictate to gun owners how many guns they should have, if they’re being stored securely?
“Once a limit is set, what’s to stop them lowering it again in future? Absolutely nothing.
“It’s ignorant crap, cynically being implemented by people who know perfectly well it won’t positively affect public safety but will get them brownie points with gun-haters and a fearful public.
“If Mr McGowan and Mr Papalia are worried about criminals stealing guns from licensed shooters, then I’d suggest they should have thought of that before they ignored The West Australian newspaper publishing front-page maps showing where gun owners lived.”