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A five gun limit for recreational firearm owners and annual health checks for shooters over the age of 80 could form part of the Cook government’s planned gun reforms.
The reforms could see up to one third of the state’s legally owned firearms removed from their owners.
Minister Paul Papalia says the changes are designed to increase public safety.Credit: Getty Images
Ministerial briefing notes obtained under Freedom of Information laws by the WA Firearms Community Alliance outline a range of changes that would outlaw nearly 130,000 licensed firearms.
The yet-to-be announced laws would restrict an individual licence holder to a maximum of five firearms for recreational shooting and hunting or a maximum of 10 for competition shooting.
A farmer would be restricted to a maximum of 10 guns. This alone would impact 40,000 firearms according to briefing notes.
Paul Fitzgerald from the WA Firearms Community Alliance says innocent gun owners are being unfairly targeted.
“These FOI documents have outlined the fact that the consultation process hasn’t been genuine, the government hasn’t been telling the truth and the WA firearm community isn’t going to sit idly by and let this fly,” he said.
“There’s no evidence to suggest the licensed firearms owning community is doing anything wrong with their firearms.”
The reforms feature a number of new licence types including primary producers licence, junior competition licence and shooting gallery licence.
More than 21,000 guns are owned by West Australians who will be older than 80 by the time the laws come into effect. More than 650 are older than 90. A mandatory annual health assessment, as required for a driver’s licence, could remove up to 8000 weapons from this cohort, according to WA Police.
The laws make it illegal to buy or sell firearms for benefit.
A minority of existing firearm licence holders would be retrospectively ineligible to hold a licence under the new laws because they are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
The laws feature tighter storage requirements which WA Police believes could reduce overall gun numbers.
A whistleblower provision will encourage community members to report firearms breaches.
More than 8600 current licence holders have criminal convictions that require reviewing under new mandatory disqualifying provisions which will include violence restraining orders, police orders, misconduct orders, sex offences, control orders and Commonwealth orders.
There are 360,000 licensed firearms in WA.
Police Minister Paul Papalia said the new laws would enhance public safety.
“Detail included in previous correspondence may not be included in eventual legislation,” he said.
“One element which is guaranteed, is public safety will be elevated to the key consideration, currently, that’s not the case.”
Papalia defended his government’s consultation phase saying it had been productive.
“Many proposed law changes have been made at the request of licensed members of the firearms community,” he said.
“A draft outlining the proposed changes will be released for comment soon. All feedback will be considered and changes could be made prior to the Bill being entered into Parliament.”
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