Police Minister Bob Wiese said the Coalition Government's firearm legislation was an historic step in helping to create a safer community.
Commenting after the legislation finally passed through Parliament tonight, Mr Wiese said the legislation in conjunction with the proposed regulations - which were almost finalised - would strengthen Western Australia's already strict code of practice in relation to firearms.
"This Government has created a total firearms package aimed at gun reform in this State which are the most substantial changes since the current Act was first created in 1973," he said.
"Operating alongside the national gun laws - which ban automatic and semi-automatic firearms and curtail mail-order firearms - these changes are a major step towards even greater firearms safety in WA."
Mr Wiese said the legislation and proposed regulations addressed all the resolutions made under the uniform national gun plan.
He said the new gun laws would not prevent the possession and use of firearms and ammunition by those who had a legitimate occupational, recreational and sporting need to possess and use firearms.
The Coalition's gun legislation contains more than 40 amendments to the WA Firearms Act, including provision for secure storage facilities for firearms, new guidelines on licensing and registration of gun ownership and increased penalties for breaches of the Firearms Act. The changes include:
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;
better training and licensing procedures; the creation of an appeals tribunal for gun owners; and -
the establishment of a Firearms Advisory Committee to monitor the impact of the Act and its administration and to advise the Minister on firearms matters.
A permanent amnesty to allow for handing in unlicensed firearms without prosecution already exists and the national register is an extension of the registration system that currently operates in WA.
The Minister said the amendments to the State legislation following the national agreement included:
raising the lawful age to obtain a firearms licence from 16 to 18 years;
applicants for a firearm licence having to show a genuine reason for owning a firearm; and -
licence applicants having to undertake an accredited training course.
"This whole legislative process is about creating a safer environment out in the community by ensuring firearm ownership and usage are properly and adequately regulated," Mr Wiese said.
Media contact: Mark Thompson on 222 9595