The stance taken by Western Australia Farmers Federation (WAFarmers) that farmers should not be allowed to have more than 10 firearms has been slammed as an “absolute betrayal” of primary producers not only in the state but across the entire country.
WAFarmers president Trevor Whittington told Farm Weekly that the organisation supported a 10-gun limit for primary producers in Western Australia, allegedly following consultation with members.
Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA) CEO James Walsh blasted WAFarmer’s stance, describing it as “an absolute betrayal” of farmers around the country.
“Who are WAFarmers to decide how many guns a given primary producer needs?” he asked.
“Farmers across Australia could now find themselves dealing with additional restrictions on vital tools of their trade, because one group on the other side of the country thought they knew best,” he said.
“It’s incredibly short-sighted — the firearm policymakers in the eastern states will absolutely be looking at WA and taking notes to see what they can get away with.
“We’re supposed to have more or less national gun laws, but once again WA is going off doing its own thing, and it’s not good news for the firearms industry or shooters.”
Questions are also being raised about whether WAFarmers is truly representative of the state’s primary production sector, and how extensive its consultation was.
Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park says he had been contacted by a number of WA farmers saying it was the first they heard about the plan, and that they absolutely opposed any limit on firearm numbers for primary producers.
“I’ve had a number of people contact me saying they are very concerned by this announcement, particularly as they were not consulted and would have rejected any limits if they had been,” he said.
“Primary industry representative groups need to be say no to additional restrictions on the tools their members need — whether that’s firearms, 4WDs, quad bikes, chainsaws or pesticides.”
“It is absolutely disgusting for a primary-producer representative group to agree to restrictions on the number of guns farmers can have, especially when that group has talked about how pleased they are to be separated out from other shooters in the state for licensing purposes.
“It’s classic divide-and-conquer stuff by the WA Government and it needs to be rejected, not encouraged.”