WA Government shows its hand . . . but what now?

Rachael Oxborrow

In a matter of days the Western Australian Labor Government showed its contempt for Parliamentary processes by announcing a ‘voluntary firearms buyback’ linked to the highly problematic Firearms Bill it was yet to table or have passed into law. Their ongoing campaign, with Police Minister Paul Papalia at the helm, is to remove firearms from licensed law-abiding owners under the guise of improving public safety. The fact is the WA Government holds a clear majority in both houses of Parliament and can wield this power at will, making their Bill an almost sure thing to become an Act during the next 12 months.

The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia Western Australia (SSAA WA) and SSAA Inc, through industry group WA Firearms Community Alliance (WAFCA) and its other member organisations, is interrogating the Firearms Bill and taking advice on the next move. There’s also regular communication with members of The National Party of WA to help with information and resources. Key messages for members are:

  • WA firearm owners are receiving text messages and emails about the Labor Government’s voluntary firearms buyback which is exactly that – voluntary. We are under no obligation to hand over any firearms. The WA Firearms Act is currently known as a Bill – it’s not law, it’s a draft. The Parliament will discuss, debate and amend the document for most of this year.
  • The individual voices of law-abiding firearm owners are key to the ongoing fight in Western Australia. Contacting local MPs and sharing points of contention, history as a law-abiding firearm owner and urging them not to support the Firearms Act is vital to our cause. The cumulative volume SSAA WA members can make does hold weight, even when the responses from MPs indicate indifference to our viewpoint.
  • This fight has just begun. Sign up a friend, family member or neighbour as our strength is in our numbers.

SSAA state and territory members throughout Australia need to be aware of what’s happening in WA and not discount the possibility the situation could be mirrored in other jurisdictions. Talking to your local member and highlighting your position in their electorate, carefully considering your vote come the next state or territory election, and encouraging firearms users in your lives who may not be a member of an organisation such as the SSAA are ways we can be proactive in our own backyard.

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