The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (WA) Inc. announced today that while it backed the WA Police Service's attempts up-date its firearms registration system, it has some serious reservations about police plans to inspect every registered gun in the state.
Association President, Mr Paul Peake said “The SSAA supports the idea of an accurate police data-base, but we have some very real concerns about shooters being forced to show up at their local police station with what in some cases could amount to a dozen firearms. A lot of firearm owners are concerned they'll become the target of organised crime, others have reservations about taking time off work and the fact that many police stations only have one or two officers able to deal with complicated firearm matters and they're not always on-hand.”
Mr Peake also said that recent comments in The West Australian newspaper claiming that up to 30,000 restricted firearms had not been handed in during the 1997 'buy-back' were at odds with statements made by the former head of Support Services Superintendent Steve Robbins, who claimed in September 1997 that shooters had complied overwhelmingly with the scheme and that 37,000 of the 40,000 restricted firearms registered in WA had been surrendered.
Mr Peake went on to say that some of the information put forward in The West Australian newspaper article was misleading. Mr Peake said “People with licensed category C firearms who chose not to take advantage of the 1997 buy-back scheme haven't broken the law and shouldn't panic. Holding on to of those firearms is completely lawful until such times as the police ask a licensee to demonstrate a genuine reason for continuing to possess it.”