WA is introducing a ten gun limit for farmers and five guns for everyone else.

Well, almost.  There is no limit for criminals …

The new limits

WA SHOOTERS face the prospect of having hard limits imposed on the number of firearms they can own.

The WA Government has announced that most shooters will be limited to five guns, with some competition shooters and farmers being able to own ten.

 WA Police Minister, Paul Papalia, said the new laws should remove 13,000 firearms from ownership, out of a total of 360,000 firearms.

WHILE THIS may not affect every shooter, it is yet another policy that had no sound basis – yet it was supported by WA farmers. 

We’re worth ten.  You’re worth five.

WA farmers will be allowed to have ten firearms, while most other shooters will only be allowed to have five.

This follows consultation by Paul Papalia with WA’s farmers and pastoralists. , WAFarmers CEO, Trevor Whittington (right), then went public by saying:

 “If the Police Minister was serious about reducing the risk of firearms to the community, he would ban anyone who is not a primary producer or competition shooter from owning a firearm,”


“To have any material impact, he would have to go a lot further than he is and ban firearm ownership in the recreational shooting community – that would cull at least 70,000 of the state’s 90,000 licensed firearm owners overnight, but he’s not willing to do that.”

Why the farmers, led by Whittington, let this division among shooters happen is not clear, but that’s what happened.

What did they get in return? 

A lot of stern feedback from shooters – and nothing from the government. 

It was a dud deal.

WAFarmers sudden U-turn 

After the recent announcement, Whittington seem to have done a rethink of his position regarding recreational shooters. 

He reportedly told the media:

“We think [the government has] gone about it the wrong way, they’ve gone after the recreational sector and capping their numbers,” he said.

“They haven’t brought the shooting community along with them.”

Whittington clearly got the message …

Compensation – at less than market value

The government has said it will not provide compensation for ammunition that might need to be forfeited and will base compensation for firearms for when they were ‘first licensed in Western Australia’

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This means the value of guns handed in will be at less than current market values.  That’s because old values do not make allowance for inflation, or simple appreciation in the value of firearms over time.

If we take the ‘first licensed’ criteria literally, it means a person who ‘first licensed’ a firearm in 2000 will get a different amount of compensation to someone who might have moved to WA with the same firearm in 2020.

The announcement is very disappointing news, but hardly unexpected. What matters now is how WA shooters react to the news.

Going out of his way to be offensive

The new restrictions are more than arrogant: they’re intentionally offensive.

Not only will this have no impact on crime, but the way the process was set up, the laws that are coming into place, and the deliberate move to exclude the largest user group of firearms from the table, is disrespectful of every recreational shooter in WA

When you add to that the ‘he-man’ pose by Papalia with a gel blaster and unnecessarily  displaying his service medals at a media conference, and it’s easy to see why Papalia is someone who likes to flaunt this arrogance.

It may seem to be a melodramatic statement, but it’s not.  

It’s what shooters are experiencing – and it’s disgraceful.

Graham Park from Shooters Union Australia hit the nail on the head, when he told the ABC that the new law

“.. will not have any effect on crime, it will merely cause more bureaucracy and cost for the government, and basically have no effect other than to give them a press release”

To give you another idea of how skewed the process was, the advisory group set up by Papalia wasn’t just farmers. It included Vegetables WA and Wines of WA… but no-one who can represent the state’s 90,000 recreational shooters…

Even if you don’t like guns, you’d have to agree this isn’t the right approach. In fact it shows you why we need to be political.

The way forward

Politics Reloaded will continue to cover what is happening WA for two reasons. The first is that what is happening in WA is wrong.  It’s policy made using a bad process, which can only ever produce bad outcomes.  The second is that it sets a dangerous precedent for gun laws in other jurisdictions.

We fight matters at a political level and provide information for shooters so they can make better choices when it comes time to cast their votes at state, territory and federal elections.

We need to send the clear message back to the WA government that shooters do matter – and will use the democratic process to get that message across.   Watch out for our upcoming episodes of our free podcast, Gun News Australia.

CONSULTATION UPDATE – COMMENTS DUE 14 NOVEMBER: The WA Police have released a 60 page consultation paper.

There’s a lot to go through so we’re going to release a special podcast this coming weekend.

There isn’t much time for you to put your submission so we’ll summarise the paper for you and let you know how you can quickly and easily put a submission in.

Why not put this on your club’s noticeboard? 

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