Historic reform to deliver toughest firearms laws in the nation

The number of guns an individual can own is set to be restricted, as part of the Cook Labor Government's historic firearm reform that enhances community safety.
  • Western Australia is set to become the first jurisdiction in the country to impose a limit on the number of firearms a licensed firearm holder can own, as the Government elevates public safety to its top priority
  • Proposed laws created through extensive consultation with firearms owners, peak bodies, and safety advocates
  • Eight licence types have been developed for specific users, including primary producers, competitive shooters, and recreational shooters
  • Storage requirements to be enhanced, providing greater security and safety
  • State Government-funded buyback to limit the financial impact on licence holders

The number of guns an individual can own is set to be restricted, as part of the Cook Labor Government's historic firearm reform that enhances community safety.

Limits will be linked to new licence types which have been tailored to reflect the specific needs of different firearm owners.

Under the proposed new legislation, some licence types will be restricted to numerical limits.

Primary producers and firearm club/competition members can license up to 10 firearms, while recreational shooters will be permitted to own a maximum of no more than five.

Competitive shooters aspiring to represent the State at a national or international level can apply to the regulator for additional numbers.

The introduction of firearm limits is estimated to remove up to 13,000 guns from the WA community, despite restrictions having no impact on most licence holders.

Over the past five years, on average one firearm has been stolen in WA every day. More onerous controls on storage will dramatically reduce the likelihood of thefts.

In addition to primary producer, other licence types include individual, trade, business, club, ranges, collector, and government.

To limit the financial impact to current licence holders, the Cook Government will fund a voluntary firearm buyback scheme, with further details to be released in the new year.

Digital licences, supported by an online portal and significantly upgraded IT system, will be implemented.

Modernising the licensing and registry of firearms will allow gun owners to have greater access to information and services while simultaneously improving the quality of data gathered by regulators, giving officers real-time access to licence holder details when on the frontline.

A Firearms Bill Consultation Paper will be released for public review and comment tomorrow.

Feedback on the proposed laws can be submitted via the WA Police website by November 14.

All comments will be considered prior to the Bill being entered into Parliament early next year.

Comments attributed to Premier Roger Cook:

"The proposed changes will make WA a safer place and willmodernise the way police record, monitor and enforce our firearm laws.

"This is the largest overhaul of firearm laws in the State's history.

"WA is the last jurisdiction to rewrite its firearm legislation since the Port Arthur massacre.

"Unfortunately, there have been a number of high-profile gun incidents during recent years.

"These examples of the unlawful use of firearms highlight the need for this important reform.

"The reforms strike a balance between legitimate, responsible gun ownership and enhanced public safety."

Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:

"Public safety is paramount, and that has been the key consideration when drafting the proposed legislation.

"If there are fewer firearms in the community, there are fewer opportunities for them to be used illegally.

"Since 2009, WA's firearm numbers have increased 65 per cent to more than 360,000.

"New firearm limits will only impact around five per cent of individual licence holders but the changes will remove over 10,000 firearms from the community.

"Extensive consultation has been carried out during the drafting process. Police have held more than 100 meetings with individuals, relevant stakeholders, and interested parties.

"I want to thank everyone involved for their contributions to developing this robust, lengthy, and considered overhaul of the State's outdated firearms laws.

"In addition to the proposed legislative changes, we have already stripped notorious crime figures and serious domestic violence offenders of their firearms and removed 280 unnecessarily high-powered guns from the community.

"The Firearms Bill Consultation Paper will be released to the public tomorrow. I encourage everyone to read it and submit feedback via the WA Police website.

"This historic reform will make WA a safer place and will benefit future generations for decades to come."

Comments attributed to Police Commissioner Col Blanch:

"My job and the job of my officers is to keep the community safe, and illicit firearms pose a significant risk to the safety of the community and to my officers, especially when in the hands of serious and organised crime groups. 

"We know that licensed firearms can quickly become illicit firearms and be traded in the underworld. 

"That is why it is so important that we make sure that only firearms that need to be in the community remain licensed, and that they are stored and secured appropriately by their owners."