Police Minister Bob Wiese said Western Australia may be the first State to introduce legislative recommendations from the national agreement on uniform gun laws.
The Coalition Government's gun legislation was tabled in Parliament today and proposed more than 40 amendments to the Western Australian Firearms Act including several amendments following the national agreement.
Mr Wiese said the proposed legislation would be tabled in Parliament as a 'Green Bill' to provide for a period of public comment until August 1.
He said the proposed legislation in conjunction with the new uniform national gun plan - which bans automatic and semi-automatic firearms - would further strengthen WA's strict firearm legislation.
"We are proposing a total package aimed at gun reforms in this State that will complement the tough measures already in place," he said.
"Operating alongside the national gun laws - which make a strong commitment for the strict control of mail-order firearms - these changes will be a major step towards firearm safety in WA."
Mr Wiese said the proposed legislation provided for secure storage facilities for firearms, ensured stricter controls on registration of gun ownership and increased penalties for breaches of the Firearms Act. Other changes included:
· increasing the penalty for possession of an unlicensed firearm from a $300 fine or six months' imprisonment up to $2,000 or six months' imprisonment;
· a 28-day cooling off period for first time applicants;
· a photo identification card for licence holders; and -
· better training and licensing procedures.
Mr Wiese said the proposed firearms legislation and the current gun laws in WA already addressed some of the major reforms outlined in the uniform national gun laws.
A permanent amnesty to allow for handing in unlicensed firearms without prosecution already existed and the national register was an extension of the registration system that currently operated in WA.
The Minister said the new amendments to the State legislation following the national agreement included:
· raising the lawful age to obtain a firearms licence from 16 to 18 years;
· those applying for a firearm licence must have a genuine need that satisfies the Police Commissioner; and -
· those applying for a licence must undertake an accredited training course.
Mr Wiese said the proposed legislation would be available for public comment until August 1 and it was then expected to be introduced into Parliament in the spring session.
Gun owners who possessed any type of firearm banned under the new uniform national gun laws had no need for immediate concern about the legal course of action.
There would be a 12-month amnesty in which to hand over their firearm once compensation details had been finalised between the Commonwealth and State Governments.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595