THE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT is bringing in new laws which could ban anyone from owning a gun for up to 10 years and impose new restrictions on what licenced shooters can do.

The changes are the latest attack on shooters out west, which are being done to grab media headlines rather than fix any problems with the existing laws. They are also taking the state further away from complying with the National Firearms Agreement that it says it adheres to.

Unfortunately, the SSAA WA says it agrees with the intent of the legislation, and has published this insipid information on its website.

Gun bans that can apply to anyone

Among the changes being made in WA is the introduction of ‘Firearm Prohibition Orders’ which effectively bans the person who gets one, from going anywhere near firearms for 10 years.

The Government has said the new laws are aimed at “activities of bikies and organised syndicates”.  However, the legislation doesn’t say that. Nowhere will you find the words “bikies”, “criminals”, “crime”, or “syndicates” in the legislation. 

Instead the laws apply to ‘a person’.

The new laws are a blank cheque that will give the WA Police the authority to target any one of WA’s 2.6m residents – regardless of age or history.

The right to kick down any door

The laws will not only permit police to search anyone hit with a ban, but their premises and any other person with them.

They will also permit police to search premises they are at or ‘manage’. If the person manages a motel you’re staying at, then they’ll have the right to kick your door in, regardless of who you are or why you are there.

Minister Papalia said the laws are designed to keep guns away from ‘crime circles’.

However he is no stranger to exaggeration.  In mid 2021, Papalia said gel blasters needed to be banned because they could be easily converted to ‘workable firearms’.  A few weeks ago, we published this story where we revealed documents obtained under Freedom of Information that showed the claim to be untrue.

The test for getting a gun ban

Here’s a quick look at what other states do.

NSW: The NSW regime requires the Commissioner to form the opinion that a person is not fit to have possession of a firearm, and that it is in the public interest for a gun ban to apply.

WA Police Minister, Paul Papalia, needs to stop the new gun laws

Vic: The laws in Victoria differ in that an inspector simply needs to disapprove of the persons ‘behaviour’.

SA: Laws in South Australia require that possession of a firearm by the person “would be likely to result in undue danger to life or property” or that they are not fit and proper to possess a firearm.

The proposed law for WA only requires the Commander to be satisfied ‘it is in the public interest’ to issue a gun ban.

No state requires a person to have committed a crime or even be acting inappropriately. They could be someone who has never broken the law, but still have their lives severely limited.

Probably more important is the fact that if you want to get a firearm in any of those states, you need to be licensed by the relevant police force.   

This means possession of a firearm without a licence is already illegal, which means you don’t need another law like this.  You just need to enforce the ones you already have.  

other changes

The legislation does a few other things around the manufacture of firearms and firearm parts.

While we understand the sentiment about curbing illicit gun manufacture, it is clear that the advice that Minister Papalia is getting is not well informed.  

Many shooters have already expressed concern how the new laws appear to prohibit the reloading of ammunition and self-repairing of firearms.

Prior to publishing this article, WAPol contacted us about concerns we had raised with the minister.  They assured us that there are exemptions to this in licences (for example, to allow reloading for own use) however they are yet to send us something we can post here to confirm that. 

The fact this confusion exists is why Minister Papalia needs to stop the bill and consult now.  In fact WAPol told us that they had consulted SSAA WA and a well known pro-gun political party, but that clearly hasn’t avoided the confusion.

The legislation also defines ‘firearm precursor’ parts.  This includes ‘technology’ which could be programmed to make firearm parts, and ‘milling devices.’ 

The bill is a mess. 

WA's own version of the NFA

While the states often say they adhere to the National Firearms Agreement, none of the changes being proposed by the WA Government are in line with it. 

In fact WA is already quite non-compliant.  It does not provide for mutual recognition of licences and does not issue permits to acquire (instead licensing individual firearms which is less shooter friendly).

The NFA clearly has major policy problems in it, but there is an expectation that states who sign up to it, will comply with it fully. 

WA has signed up but does not follow it.  The new laws take the state further away from it.

Papalia won’t answer questions

We sought a meeting with Minister Papalia, but have received no response.

The NSC’s stance

While we are limited in our ability to influence what the WA Parliament does, we’re going to give it our best go.

We are already engaging with MPs to try and put a stop to this shambolic legislation from going through.

In the meantime, we encourage shooters to let Minister Papalia know that he needs to stop the legislation and speak with the NSC before going any further.

(this should open your email program, if you have one)

24 thoughts on “WA’s desperate grab for new gun laws

  1. Laurens West says:

    Since the labour has the upper and lower house numbers in WA and the current premier is against firearm ownership they do as they wish there is NO political will to stop it .

    • Bentley says:

      the writing was on the wall when they won the election basically unopposed. There are no checks and balances, the whole country is lopsided, and labor are more likely to abuse their powers than any conservative party, or group. We are in a political no mans land, and our centre right need to get their act together in order to maintain a balance of power.

  2. Trevor Pollock says:

    This will just drive firearms onto the black market.
    The law abiding gun owner is made to look bad again.
    While the criminals will import,hide & make firearms to use in crime.They don’t care about the law!

    • Joseph Sherman says:

      The state doesn’t care about crime. This isn’t about crime. It’s about outlawing and criminalising law abiding firearm owners.

    • Lu says:

      Damn straight, all this crap has done n is continuing to do is (TAKE THE FIREARM FROM THE INNOCENCE, LAW ABIDING MANS HAND!!) criminals hav n will continue to get hold of whatever illegal items they seek the same way they always hav!

  3. Robert says:

    Your biggest problem is the state is run by Labour pollies that have no guts to stand up for their constituents. Example is the robbing of regional voting rights and the royalties for regions. Dictator McGowan and his head cronies will ignore any common sense. Perfect example, gelblasters. Crime syndicates will still get their firearms illegally brought into the state like they have for years. To all politicians and some in the police its easier to persecute the law abiding citizens than crack down on crime sundicates. They make a big noise to look like they are doing good but avoiding the issue at the same time. I have very little to no confidence in the lawmakers on any firearm issue. Governments use pure sensationalism and the threat of fear and a media that thrives on sensationalism to help get their lies across. We have no Government for the people any more. Be nice if our politicians realise that and govern not rule.

  4. Colin Carruthers says:

    Keep up the good work …. We need greater representation in parliament especially when it comes to legal firearms ownership .???

  5. beat07 says:

    Remedy-do not be a person, do not describe your arms as firearms or whatever nomenclature the corporate fakes use!
    Join custodians to come out of the chicanery & help to reclaim OUR Cwth, which our brave soldiers fought for! Learn who you are-do your learning thru as prepatory to becoming a Cwth Custodian as there is important work to be done by the latter and we do not need slow-downs or time-wasters! KNOW your bible-YOU WERE NEVER MEANT TO BE A PERSON !!!!

  6. Michael Mazur says:

    That Australian police on ordinary duty since 1984 have been required to have strapped to their side their service pistol, while any of the popn would never leave jail were they to do the same, speaks to the mass murder to come, for it was in the last century that after the politicians first disarmed the populaces of their 17 countries that 262,000,000 innocents were then mass murdered by the order follower police.

    • Mark says:

      Agreed mate. It will come, and come to Victoria first. This country has always been an atrocity waiting to happen. Look how these cops, these ‘ordinary men’ have behaved in the last couple of years. They will slaughter us upon order. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever.

    • Chris says:

      Turn it up mate. Pretty confident that given how much we know about the 6 million murdered in the holocaust, we would know about a massacre of 262 million people.

  7. jack says:

    There is never any mention in the SSAA magazine ,about these gun laws , either proposed or recently passed ,why ?
    Seems SSAA gives tacit approval , no matter what ,their silence is deafening . Some of the sixteen million annual
    income gathered by SSAA could be used to speak up for their members ,as they continually tell us they do ,WHEN ?

  8. Karen says:

    This proposed law just doesn’t make sense. Current laws are perfectly adequate in dealing with gun control. Just more police & political sensationalism to show the community they are keeping us all safe etc

  9. Ivor Alan Knight says:

    I believe the WA gun laws to be quite sufficient [if properly followed] to curtail criminal activity. Concentration needs to be on law breaking not law abiding – citizens.

  10. Paul says:

    From bad to worse. Some might disagree, but almost the only hope for sane gun laws in WA IMO is if and when State Governments are abolished. The only danger would be if WA were to threaten “It’s our way or (we take) the highway”, in other words secession. Hopefully though, the vast majority of non gun owning Western Australians would not feel so passionately about their gun laws, as to think it worth secession to keep them.

  11. Macka says:

    The WA Firearms laws are more than sufficient in their current format. Speaking with the Cops at Firearms branch, they totally disagreed with the gel blaster decision, so its politics as per usual directing the outcome regardless of any underpinning knowledge or facts supporting it. I emailed the SSAA many months ago asking them to get involved legally to support their many WA members (me being one) but even after several other emails I did not receive any response. So we need a strong voice and a representative to stand up to the media and voice the concerns of the legal gun owners.

  12. Dan says:

    McGowan and his corrupt merry men need to be removed and all issues including firearms should be decided and controlled by the people.(Licenced West Australian firearm shooters and owners.)

  13. Jezza says:

    The section 23AG on firearms technology is going to criminalise anyone who possesses a lathe or milling machine. These days many are digitally operated, but history has most firearms manufactured on manual or semiautomatic machines. That plus owning a drone or a 3D printer from Harvey Norman will also be criminal.

    Of course they’ll say Police will use discretion, but it would be a lot fairer if there was a requirement the equipment had actually been used to manufacture firearms related parts.

  14. David says:

    Here we go again, where a minority will ruin it for the majority.
    If the bikers are the issue, then have a Ban on Harley Davidson motor bikes………

  15. David M says:

    “If the bikers are the issue, then have a Ban on Harley Davidson motor bikes”. That’s exactly how it would work. They will follow the culture by moving somewhere else. But in SA and NSW at least, crime gangs have at least one party’s membership list, and, well, they make their money one way or another.

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