- New legislation to modernise Western Australia's Firearms Act
- Changes will strengthen controls to enhance community safety
- Will ensure Western Australia is compliant with the National Firearms Agreement
The McGowan Government is embarking on the biggest overhaul of firearms laws in Western Australian history.
Premier Mark McGowan and Police Minister Paul Papalia today announced extensive stakeholder and community consultation had commenced as part of a complete re-write of WA's five-decade-old Firearms Act.
While there have been several amendments to the Act over the years, there has been no structural reform since the Act was enacted back in 1973.
New police figures reveal Western Australians now own more than 349,000 guns - a 60 per cent jump in the number of licensed guns compared to 13 years ago.
At the same time, the number of Western Australians who hold a gun licence has fallen.
The new Firearms Act will modernise the current firearms licensing regime with procedural and operational improvements that have a strong focus on community safety.
Proposed reforms include strengthened training requirements, provisions to allow police to revoke gun licences from those convicted of serious family violence offences, and enhanced requirements for security and storage of legitimately owned firearms.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Western Australia's Firearms Act is now nearly five decades old. The time has come to consider some contemporary improvements to enhance community safety.
"There are a number of genuine reasons for needing a firearm, but we must ensure we have strong laws in place to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.
"We are now undertaking extensive stakeholder consultation as part of developing modern and sensible firearm controls - to enable continued legitimate use of firearms while focussing strongly on keeping the community safe."
Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:
"Let me be clear - our strong focus here is on community safety.
"The Government recognises there are legitimate reasons to possess and use a firearm and I acknowledge most gun crime is committed by people not licensed to possess a firearm.
"We are not seeking to take guns away from people who require them for a legitimate purpose.
"But we must ensure there is an adequate balance between legitimate and responsible gun ownership and community safety.
"We need to make sure legal guns can't get into the hands of criminals, so if there is scope for tighter controls and regulation, then that is a conversation we must have."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Police Minister's office - 6552 5600