Bob Wiese

Bob Wiese


    Compensation/amnesty program for prohibited firearms to start Oct 1

    28/07/1996 12:00 AM



    Police Minister Bob Wiese said the compensation/amnesty program for prohibited firearms would begin in Western Australia on October 1.


    Mr Wiese said the program would run for a period of 12 months, operating in conjunction with all the other States and Territories.


    The Minister made the announcement at today's public meeting of the Coalition for Gun Control, saying there were up to 40,000 firearms that could be brought forward during that period.


    "This State is in a very fortunate position because of our registration system and police know the number of legal firearms out there and who owns them," he said.


    "This registration system has been operating in WA since the 1930s and makes the job of identifying who owns firearms a lot easier than what other States will have to go through."


    Mr Wiese commended the role of the Coalition for Gun Control in helping to highlight the public commitment to stronger uniform national gun laws.


    "This State has fought a long hard battle for national uniform gun laws to be introduced and finally those wishes have come to fruition - laws that will ban high-powered firearms and remove the threat of mail order weapons coming into WA from other States," he said.


    Mr Wiese said proposals for improved and upgraded firearms legislation in WA were also under consideration, with more than 40 amendments to the Firearms Act outlined in a Green Paper.


    The Green Paper, which included proposals for firearms security, better licensing and training procedures and increased penalties, was out for public comment until August 1. The Minister planned to introduce the legislation in the spring sitting of Parliament.


    Mr Wiese said in relation to handing in illegal firearms, the collection points would be at local police stations throughout the State and firearm owners could bring in their weapon and receive a receipt from police which would be followed by a compensation payment.


    "The 12-month compensation/amnesty period provides firearm owners with the option to go through the compensation process when their annual firearm registration is up for renewal," he said.


    "Of course, firearm owners can hand in their weapons at any time during this period, but rather than swamp police with firearms, it is intended to stagger this process and therefore not reduce the level of police service in other areas."


    Mr Wiese also encouraged those people with unlicensed or unwanted firearms to take advantage of the ongoing Police Service amnesty and hand in their firearms. Compensation would only apply to the prohibited firearms.


    "This whole process is about reducing the number of firearms out there in the community and creating a safer environment," he said.


    Media contact: Mark Thompson 322 2311