WA’s Paul Papalia has used a tragedy to support his push for changes to WA gun laws- and we reckon he’s not telling us the full story.

Papalia pushes WA changes

WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S POLICE MINISTER, Paul Papalia, has used a tragic shooting to spruke the rewrite of the state’s gun laws, also saying that mental health checks may be required every two years.

The minister is rewriting the laws because of shootings by criminals despite the fact criminals obviously do not comply with our gun laws anyway.

WA’s unenviable record

The state already has the nation’s worst gun laws, with the cost of transferring a firearm in WA set at $256 compared to $9.20 in Victoria. 

Transferring a firearm also involves obtaining a ‘serviceability’ certificate relating to the firearm which is also not required in other states. WA also does not recognise interstate licenses, while other states do.

Earlier this year, the government announced it would ban several firearms and popular hunting calibres despite the fact they are allowed in other states.

The new laws will make it even harder for people to get into shooting and keep their licences.   

It’s also not the first time the government showed its contempt for shooters.

Last year, the Western Australian Government gave media maps showing where licensed shooters lived, which they published.   

The tragedy

Papalia’s recent statements follow a tragic shooting that occurred in the small Wheatbelt town of Kellerberrin, about 200km east of Perth. 

The town was plunged into lockdown for a number of hours after 25-year-old Lachlan Bowles shot dead co-worker Terry Czernowski before taking his own life.

Swastika wearing, Nazi flag waving…

The government is painting this out to be an example of where tougher gun laws would prevent shootings.  However  media reports suggest that Bowles wasn’t your garden variety gun-owner.  The reports say Bowles wore a Swastika and waved a Nazi flag during his rampage. 

It’s also interesting that Papalia used the event to tell the media his laws were “a complete rewrite from the ground up” and would be “the toughest in the country” – but refused to talk about the specifics of the matter.  

However given that we know what actually happened, it seems obvious that the tragedy was the result of the failure of the fit & proper test used by WA Police under existing laws, which means new laws would not have made any difference

Something’s not quite right here…

People who use misuse firearms don’t just trot down to their local Nazi store, grab a Swastika and run amok. Even criminals don’t do that.

That’s why we suspect there is more to the background of Bowles than the minister has revealed.

For example, we’d love to know what the police already knew about Bowles – because he must have been on their radar.  Knowing more will reveal other failings by WA Police.

Tearing up the National Firearms Agreement

Our politicians, regulators and policy bureaucrats often justify their positions on the existence of the National Firearms Agreement that the states and territories signed up to in 1996.

However apart from some ‘headline’ matters such as firearm licence categories, the rest of the Agreement is simply not agreed to.

WA’s position is the worst of all states and territories. 

In addition to the deficiencies which we have pointed out, WA has added other requirements that other jurisdictions do not have.

Now WA wants to go further away from the agreement.

Precisely what else the government has in mind remains to be seen, but we understand they include limits on the number of guns that shooters can keep, and changes to their storage requirements.

Zero consultation. Again.

Worse still, the government has flatly refused to consult the WA firearms community.

In other words, the very people who are best placed to inform the government on gun laws have been excluded.

It would be like having the government refuse to speak with the medical profession on laws that affect that profession.

Creating new risks

In addition to the impact new laws may have on WA shooters, there is a risk that other states and territories might want to follow suit.

Not only do “tougher gun laws” sound good for politicians to say, but the NFA is now 27 years old, and it won’t be long before some politicians say that it is “out of date and needs to be reviewed”.

That’s why shooters like you need to care. It’s why you need to take action, even if you aren’t in WA.

It’s not acceptable, Mr Premier….

We know from previous experience that Papalia doesn’t want to listen. 

Now he’s prepared to conflate Swastikas and Nazi flags with what you and I do.

That’s why we’re asking you let WA’s Premier, Roger Cook (right), know that Papalia’s behaviour is not appropriate – and should not be hiding anything from us.

TAKE ACTION:  Please click the link below to send an email to Premier Cook!

Send the email below telling him to pull his minister into line – because the continued attacks on the reputation of shooters will not be forgotten at the next WA State Election.

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