WA political update: Government driving a firearms fear narrative

The Western Australian Government has launched multiple attacks to create a narrative of fear around firearms in the community.

Immediately following National Cabinet’s commitment in early February to a National Firearm Registry investigation, WA Police Minister Paul Papalia blindsided a number of key communities in WA by demanding mandatory mental checks for all new and existing firearm owners’ licences in its review of the WA Firearms Act that was announced in March 2022.

A week later this was followed up by announcing Australia’s first firearm buyback since 2002, insinuating the firearms on the hit list present an immediate danger to WA Police.

Further details of the buyback process have now been received by some affected members, which demands these firearms and ammunition are to be handed into a police station, payment will be made for firearms only and will take around two months and will be based on “purchase price”. Licensees have been told they can also sell these firearms and ammunition interstate. Accessories will also not be compensated.

Following this series of announcements, representatives from the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia WA (SSAA WA) and WA Firearms Traders Association (WAFTA) have participated in multiple media interviews representing the views of our licensed and law-abiding firearm owners in the WA community.

The issue at hand here is the McGowan Government and Minister Papalia can act virtually without consequence as it has a clear majority in both houses and no election looming. SSAA WA has been involved in policy meetings last year on the rewrite of the Firearms Act, but the government and WA Police have now shown they do not wish to consult with anyone on firearms anymore.

Efforts are now being coordinated to firm up cohesion across the firearms industry and farming groups and presenting a show of strength to the WA Government that this section of the community will not tolerate being strong-armed into submission.

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