THE NSC has lodged three Freedom of Information (FOI) requests with the Western Australian Government over:

• the significant hike in firearm licence fees;

• the claim by Police Minister Paul Papalia that gel blasters can be modified into ‘real firearms’; and

• WA Police’s basis for reclassifying the Ruger PC Charger

FOI #1: Firearm licence fee increases

Shooters out west were recently hit with licence fee hikes of over 100%, which were widely condemned by shooters and shooting organisations. 

The reasons for the increases were not clear or stated anywhere.

Other states make information on how regulatory fees, such as shooters’ licence fees, are calculated and justified freely available. In fact, some governments cannot change fees without consulting stakeholders. That’s clearly not the case in WA.

In July, we put in a FOI request to understand the methodology used to calculate the fees.

In response, the WA Government has claimed an exemption from FOI on what is called cabinet in confidence.  This exemption is usually for briefings and advice to ministers, but not for business that happens within departments.

Our argument is that the data we’re after is information held by WA’s Department of Treasury as part of its normal process for recalculating fees.  We did not ask for briefings, but the data that sits underneath them.

We’re now taking this through an ‘internal review process’ but if we don’t get the documents, then we will have the right to appeal to the WA State Administrative Tribunal.

FOI #2: Conversion of gel blasters into fully functioning firearms

When Police Minister, Paul Papalia, stood in front of the media holding a gel blaster and telling us why they needed to be banned because they could be converted into a fully functioning firearm, it was obvious there was a problem.

The problem was made worse when we read Papalia’s background.  He draws heavily on his background as a former SAS soldier which we interpret as suggesting he has a superior knowledge of firearms than shooters.

He even held a gel blaster at his media conference in a pose that to us, was someone reminiscing on his former days, and in an expression of his superior knowledge.

At the media conference, he stated:

“We are aware that many of the components of gel blasters are interchangeable with other parts and can be ultimately converted to a real firearm“

His media release reiterated that by stating:

“Police also have intelligence that criminal groups are importing gel blasters
and modifying them into workable firearms”

Really?  In June, we put in a FOI to see how just how accurate the minster’s claims may be.

We’ve asked for document that show if the claims about the conversions can be modified, including any reports from gunsmiths or armourers.

The government has sought an extension of time to comply, which expires on 13 September. We agreed to that and wait patiently for the response to arrive. 

As with the FOI  on the licence fee increases, we can take an unsatisfactory response to our FOI request the WA State Administrative Tribunal.

FOI #3: WA Police decision to reclassify the Ruger PC Charger

The fight we have with WAPol to get the Ruger PC Charger is almost over.

The three applicants are in the process of having some minor modifications to their guns made, but the commitment to licence them, under threat of our legal action continuing, has been made.

However, that does not excuse the police for how they made their decision in the first place, and forced the NSC to drag them down this path. 

In addition to the other FOIs, we put in this third one seeking any documents that related to the force’s decision to reclassify the firearm, such as briefings, technical reports, assessments and photos – and why it was not in the public interest for the gun to be licensed in WA.

As with the earlier FOIs, the WA Police were not able to comply within the timeframe, and an extension has been sought. 

Over 250 reasons to join the NSC

The good news for shooters is that the NSC clearly has the ability and interest to probe complex issues like this in depth.

We were the first and only organisation that took legal actions to contest the closing of gun shops in three states.  We have been the first and only orgnaistion that helped shooters – whether or not members – get their licences back, and to fight the reclassification of firearms – in most states.  

We’re also the first and only organistion who is providing voting advice for shooters in every state and territory.

For that, you’ve given us over 250 x 5 star reviews on Google.

If you want to know if the NSC is worth joining, then there’s your answer right there. 

That’s why more and more shooters are supporting our work for just $35 a year ($25 for pensioners) – with the option of genuine reason for those in Qld, NSW and Vic.

7 thoughts on “NSC hits WA Government with several Freedom of Information requests

  1. Acme+Firearms says:

    I personally hold gel blasters under my club membership … I’ve pulled them apart and been unsuccessful in figuring out how to convert them into a ‘real firearm’ … I’ve also got access to M4’s and attempted interchangeability of gel blaster parts and components … alas, even with CNC machinery and CAD engineering tools I haven’t been successful … I believe the claim of “We are aware that many of the components of gel blasters are interchangeable with other parts and can be ultimately converted to a real firearm“ is as flimsy a statement as the plastic gel blasters are manufactured from.

  2. Sam says:

    Fantastic work. Sick of being lied to, it’s about time someone showed the powers that be that it’s not going to stand

  3. Michael says:

    Just as with the ignoring of the report recommending a trial of hunting on WA public land, the increase in firearm licensing fees is to minimise the numbers of shooters.

  4. Jonathan Laird says:

    The West Australian government patronises shooters with lies and obfuscation. You serve us, not us, you. The NSC is the first organisation to hand shooters genuine dignity and I look forward to the education of these bureaucrats. If we were in the WW2 era, the WA govt would be under suspicion as Japanese fifth columnists.

  5. Roger Overson says:

    The only gel blasters that can be modified into “real” firearms are the metal 1911 and Glock pistols, however, modifying them to shoot real ammo (.22 only) entails basically changing the entire upper and other parts including slide, barrel and trigger group parts, all of which are highly regulated. The process seems a bit hit and miss, and does require ar morers/gunsmith knowledge to accomplish.
    Criminals would simply buy a real 1911 or Glock in 9mm or 45.
    Forget converting the M4s these clowns displayed on air.

  6. Arnie says:

    Police Minister Paul Papalia: “We are aware that many of the components of gel blasters are interchangeable with other parts and can be ultimately converted to a real firearm.“

    If that is true, then he needs to back that up with hard evidence. His Special Forces background doesn’t give him any engineering credibility.

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