Papalia's Inflamatory claim
ON 26 MARCH 2022, The West Australian newspaper published a story titled “Gun letter scam exposes dodgy loophole to obtain a firearm”.
In this article we expose why the Minister’s claim is a fiction in yet another chapter in his ongoing War on WA shooters.
Unlike most other States, WA does not allow public land hunting.
This means that shooters going hunting in WA need to obtain a permission letter from a property owner.
Also unique to WA is the requirement for every individual firearm to be licensed and where a licence holder has obtained a property permission letter.
This means every firearm purchased or acquired for hunting is assessed by WAPol against the property letters size. Some of the factors considered before WAPol decides to licence a firearm, include the location and types of animals on the property.
For many years multiple property owners in WA have been able to assist WA shooters by providing property letters and allowing access to their properties for selected shooters.
Many have done this for reasonable fee and the earnings from the letters have been put back into development of facilities and maintenance on theses properties. The practice has, until recently, worked well for all parties involved.
What Papalia now thinks about his own restrictions
In the article in The West Australian, Police Minister Papalia said the sale of the property letters undermined the intent of the WA Firearms Act and highlighted the need for a complete rewrite of the state’s gun laws to enable a more stringent vetting process for anyone applying to own a firearm.
He quoted monetary figures that suggested property owners were making huge profits from the sale of the property letters.
Instead, Papalia is just looking for another reason to change the state’s gun laws.
Property owner seeks answers from registry
One of the WA Property owners has contacted the NSC for help.
Evan Rutherford owns Kalbarri Shooting Adventures which is a farm 38 kms south of Kalbarri. He’s a member of both the SSAA and WAFTA (the WA Firearm Traders Association) and is one of 5 WA property holders targeted by WAPol and the minister over property letters they issued.
Evan confirmed he was not contacted by WAPol directly at any point about this matter, or in the run up to Papalia’s announcement, or story in The West Australian.
He first learnt what was going on when he received a phone call from a WA firearms dealer that had been supporting Kalbarri. The dealer advised he had been contacted by WAPol and ordered to immediately stop promoting the Kalbarri letter program.
In other words, the registry’s response was purely political.
Over the course of the next week, Evan made several calls to WAPol’s registry and even the Chief Commissioner’s office to attempt to get reasons for the “crackdown”, and to find out how the situation could be resolved.
Eventually he was told it was due to “safety reasons“ and to provide information on what safety measures he had in place.
Setting the record straight with the registry
On 11 April, Evan sent an email to the registry with the following information:
On the 14th April he received the following email from WAPol:
Police distance themselves from the police minister
The WAPol email suggests the policy is not concerned with existing hunting properties, which backpedals from the picture being painted by Minister Papalia.
It exposes the minister’s statements as another cheap political stunt to get newspaper coverage in his ongoing War on WA shooters.
Evan and other affected property owners rely on the income from the property letters to survive. Yet Papalia has been willing push his own agenda even if it means destroying WA small businesses.
This is the same minister who falsely claimed gel blasters could be made into real working firearms and recently stated the National Firearms Agreement was John Howard’s “gift to the nation”.
SSAA / WAFTA approached for help, NSC assists
As noted earlier Evan is an SSAA/ WAFTA member and was only allowing SSAA members to book his farm for shooting facilities.
He approached the SSAA and WAFTA with his situation for help and is waiting for their response. Hopefully they will assist.
Evan has also joined the NSC and we have committed to provide him with all the assistance we can, including a potential legal challenge in the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).
In the meantime, Papalia has described the NSC as “Australia’s NRA” and said our actions are “disturbing”.
However we’re simply committed to fighting bad politicians and have made it clear we just want a good policy platform. This starts with stopping Papalia’s War on WA Shooters.
Labor needs to bring Papalia into line
Shooters in WA need to make sure Labor gets the message by voting against Labor at next month’s federal election, so they can send a message to their state counterpart to pipe down.
Either that, or they need to get McGowan to sack him.