AGRIBUSINESS

WA producers limited to 10 guns under proposed new laws

WESTERN Australian farmers will be limited to licencing a maximum of ten firearms under a new reform which plans to deliver the toughest firearms laws in the nation.

Staff Writer
 The WA Government is proposing to tighten firearm laws. Photo courtesy Agriculture Victoria.

The WA Government is proposing to tighten firearm laws. Photo courtesy Agriculture Victoria.

The WA Government announced today it plans to impose a limit on the number of guns a licensed firearm holder can own.

The limits will be based on new licence types, which it says are tailored to reflect the specific needs of different firearm owners.

Primary producers and firearm club/competition members will be permitted to license up to 10 firearms under the proposed changes, with recreational shooters limited to a maximum of five.

The Government estimates the limits will remove up to 13,000 guns from the WA community, while having no impact on most licence holders.

Digital licences and more onerous controls on storage are also planned, with requirements for CCTV and/or alarms being considered under the changes. 

The Government said the digital licences will modernise the licensing and registry of firearms, allowing gun owners to have greater access to information and services while simultaneously improving the quality of data gathered by regulators.

This is expected to give officers real-time access to licence holder details when on the frontline.

It hopes tighter storage laws will help reduce firearm theft, with one firearm stolen on average each day over the past five years. 

WA Premier Roger Cook, said the proposed changes and reforms strike a balance between legitimate, responsible gun ownership and enhanced public safety.

"This is the largest overhaul of firearm laws in the State's history," Cook said.

"WA is the last jurisdiction to rewrite its firearm legislation since the Port Arthur massacre.

"Unfortunately, there have been a number of high-profile gun incidents during recent years. These examples of the unlawful use of firearms highlight the need for this important reform."

WA Police Minister, Paul Papalia, said public safety is paramount, and had been the key consideration when drafting the proposed legislation.

"If there are fewer firearms in the community, there are fewer opportunities for them to be used illegally," Papalia said.

"Since 2009, WA's firearm numbers have increased 65 per cent to more than 360,000."

He said extensive consultation has been carried out during the drafting process with more than 100 meetings held with individuals, relevant stakeholders, and interested parties. 

However the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia WA said on Facebook today it was yet to see a draft copy of the proposed reforms, despite numerous and continual requests. 

HOW THE CHANGES IMPACT PRODUCERS 

The Primary Producers licence under the proposed changes will allow farmers to license up to 10 firearms, with the licence holder, or authorised persons under that licence (e.g. employees/family), permitted to shoot on other properties for primary production purposes.

They will also be permitted to use the firearm listed on their licence for hunting or target shooting purposes on any other property for which they hold a written authority (property letter) to do so.

Primary producers with more than 10 firearms will be required to reduce the numbers and can dispose of additional firearms by selling them through lawful processes, having them rendered innocuous by an authorised trade industry licence holder or surrendering them under the government's proposed voluntary buyback scheme.

More details on the scheme will be released next year, with compesation amounts yet to be decided, but expected to be based on the type of firearm and when it was first licensed in WA. 

MORE INFORMATION

A Firearms Bill Consultation Paper will be released for public review and comment tomorrow.

More information about the proposed laws is available at the WA Police website and feedback can be submitted by 14 November. 

 

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