WA slammed for “police state” changes to Firearms Act

Draconian new gun laws set traps for licensed shooters

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Shooters Union in WA

The WA Government will make criminals of licensed shooters under proposed new gun laws that the shooting lobby believes will stop gun owners from repairing their own firearms or hand loading ammunition. 

The revisions to the state’s Firearms Act 1973 introduce a range of new offences and significantly increase penalties for firearms-related crimes. 

“These reforms are part of our ongoing focus on disrupting organised crime,” Police Minister Paul Papalia said.  

However, the reforms have been slammed as a “shocking assault on the civil liberties of everyone in Western Australia” by Shooters Union WA representative Peter Heggie. 

“This is literal police state material,” he said.

“Repairing a gun, even one you own, without a special Repairer’s Licence — separate to the Firearms Licence a shooter already has — will carry maximum penalty of 14 years jail,” he said.

The new laws will potentially make it illegal to possess a digitised repair manual or schematics of a firearm, under a section aimed at preventing the illegal manufacture of weapons by criminals.

“Can you imagine if the Government made it illegal, on penalty of 14 years jail, to change your own oil in your car, or to own a copy of the Haynes Workshop Manual for it?” Heggie said. “That’s exactly what this is the equivalent of.

“The lack of defences for licensed firearms owners is a sinister red flag as well, with the Bill containing hefty penalties for commonplace, innocuous activities,” Heggie said.

He also criticised the Bill for its effect on the friends, families and colleagues of people subject to a Firearms Prohibition Order (FPO).

The new laws would enable police to search anyone in the company of someone subject to an FPO, if the police have reasonable grounds to suspect a search is warranted.

People would be guilty of serious firearms offences simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as the proposed rules stipulate that someone “is in possession” of a firearm or related item simply because that person “occupies, or has care, control or management of, a place where it is found”.   

This stipulation applies to newly defined “major firearms parts” that include something as innocuous as a magazine or trigger assembly.

WA’s move to enact the new laws follows the successful implementation of similar laws in other states, most recently NSW and Victoria.

The Bill will also implement a permanent firearms amnesty in WA, as has happened elsewhere.

You can read the proposed amendments in full here. 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. This is extremely concerning. The only, I repeat ONLY, solution is for all WA firearm owners to rally together and vote for firearm sympathetic candidates into Parliament and try to rescind these draconian changes. Voters will need to be very careful of political parties that masquerade as supporting firearm owners and only support a party/ies with an established record.

  2. Not good at all. I agree with Stephen. The only way to stop this behaviour is at the ballot box. As a resident of NSW I was alarmed to read that similar measures have been implemented here. First I’ve heard of it. Such action by NSW govt. would have resulted in an uproar in the shooting community. I need to check that.

  3. Well it takes each and everyone of us including the whole country to support us to rally, write letters whatever it takes for each and everyone of us licensed FAL holders word to be heard. It can’t be just 3 per 10 licensed making a noise it’s every single licensed holder in this state and our counter parts Australia wide to get heard. But hey that won’t happen because we the laziest people on the planet to push back against the govt. it’s a joke and be prepared if you don’t go bang your drum at your local MP. It’s all over. Pisses me off. Now do you all understand what the leader of the opposition was on about last WA election when he “I’m not going to win but vote smart dont let one party have control of both houses” he was right!

  4. One thing I would urge LAFO’s anywhere in Australia to do, is to join the Shooters Union, great value for money and you know that they have your back.

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