New firearms crackdown to bolster public safety

Very high-powered firearms that are dangerous at significantly longer ranges and capable of piercing armour plating will be outlawed in Western Australia from 1 July 2023.
  • Firearms and ammunition designed to shoot over long ranges with extraordinary power and precision will be outlawed in WA from 1 July
  • 56 types of firearms will become illegal
  • 19 calibres of ammunition will become illegal
  • A total of 248 licensed firearms in WA will become illegal
  • The WA Government will fund market-value buyback 

Very high-powered firearms that are dangerous at significantly longer ranges and capable of piercing armour plating will be outlawed in Western Australia from 1 July 2023.

The ban will be introduced by the McGowan Government at the request of the Western Australian Police Force.

Because these firearms are dangerous at significantly longer ranges than less powerful firearms they have been identified as posing a significant, high-risk to the community and law enforcement.

Under the ban, 56 types of firearms and 19 calibres of ammunition will become illegal in WA.

That means a total of 248 licensed firearms, which are currently legal in WA, must be disposed of by the 1 July deadline.

The WA Police Force will today begin sending correspondence to the owners of these 248 licensed firearms, advising them they must be disposed of by the cut-off date.

The McGowan Government will fund a buyback of the specified firearms, at market value.

The funds will be paid to a nominated bank account within eight weeks of the firearm's official surrender at the nearest police station.

Owners must provide their firearm's licence, bank account details and proof of purchase including purchase price when they surrender their firearm. A valuation from a firearm's dealer may be accepted if proof-of purchase and purchase price are not able to be supplied.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

"This reform is part of my Government's commitment to overhaul WA's 50-year-old gun laws and make sure community safety comes first.

"Our Government is committed to ensuring our community and our Police Officers have the best possible protection from gun violence.

"The Western Australian Police Force has informed me there is no practical need for these specific very high-powered firearms in WA.

"While they remain in our community, these weapons are vulnerable to falling into the wrong hands, and the consequences could be devastating."

Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:

"The firearms Police have asked us to ban are anti-materiel or designed for hunting large animals that we don't have in Australia.

"The Western Australian Police Force recently seized an arsenal of very high-powered firearms being incorrectly stored in a secret underground bunker, hidden beneath a storage unit in suburban Perth.

"Unbelievably, the worst offence this individual has allegedly committed is failing to apply to the local council for approval to build the bunker and underground shooting range.

"That's how outdated and weak our 50-year-old firearms laws are here in WA, and that's why the Western Australian Police Force have asked us to completely overhaul them.

"This person was a licensed firearms owner. Most of the weapons down there were licensed.

"Why he needed that many high-powered rifles in a secret underground shooting range is beyond me."

Comments attributed to Acting WA Police Commissioner Kylie Whiteley:

"Some projectiles from these firearms are capable of penetrating the body armour worn by police officers, as well as most hard surfaces of police vehicles from up to two kilometres away. With specific types of rounds, a bullet from these firearms can also penetrate WA Police Force armoured vehicles.

"This is why we have requested the State Government ban this list of specific types of firearms and ammunition.

"Police will monitor the disposal of the identified firearms and, where required, any reports of lost or stolen firearms will be the subject of a full investigation."

Premier's office - 6552 5000

Police Minister's office - 6552 5600