Firearms Crackdown to Include Mandatory Mental Health Checks
- Holding a firearms licence in WA will require a mental health check
- Key component of McGowan Government's WA gun laws overhaul
- An Australia-first initiative expected to save lives and increase community safety
The McGowan Government will introduce mandatory mental health checks for Western Australian gun owners as part of its commitment to overhaul the State's outdated firearms laws and put community safety first.
Last year, 20 people were shot dead in WA.
Subsequent Police investigations found evidence suggesting mental health played a role in almost 50 per cent of those 20 firearm deaths.
In the past six months alone, 122 people were referred to the WA Police Force because someone was concerned about their fitness to hold a gun licence based on medical grounds.
Police were able to revoke 46 firearm licences on mental health grounds during that period.
Police Minister Paul Papalia said WA's outdated gun laws were being totally reworked to put community safety first.
Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:
"If 20 people were all gunned down in a public place, we would rightfully call it a massacre. The fact is, 20 Western Australians were killed by firearms last year. Police believe mental health may have been a factor in almost 50 per cent of those deaths.
"The extensive, initial round of consultation conducted by Police has revealed strong support for this initiative among farmers, the medical community, and victims of firearms violence. Police will continue to work closely with these important stakeholders to refine the regulations.
"Many people in our society have lived with mental health challenges at some stage in their lives and most people living with mental health issues are not violent and pose no threat to anyone.
"We believe this initiative will be a significant and welcome improvement on our current gun regulations.
"Introducing compulsory mental health screening for firearm owners increases the chance of identifying someone who should not be granted access to a firearm for safety reasons. It also decreases the chance of that person doing harm to themselves or others.
"If mental illness is identified during the application process, we want it to be an opportunity and a pathway for the individual to receive the support they need.
"This is an Australian first. We believe this and other initiatives we are working on will help save lives, make our community safer, and make the job safer for our police officers."
Minister's office - 6552 5600