Firearm buyback will support historic reform 

Premier Roger Cook said the new laws strike a balance between the legitimate and responsible use of firearms and public safety.
February 22, 2024
Peter W Lewis

WA’s firearm buyback compensation scheme commenced this week following the state government’s introduction to Parliament of the toughest firearm laws in the country.

The new legislation elevates public safety as the key consideration, and will see tens of thousands of unnecessary firearms removed from WA.

All WA individual firearm licence holders are eligible to receive compensation for surrendered firearms regardless of whether legislative changes impact their licence.

The voluntary scheme will remain open until Saturday, 31 August 2024, or until the $64.3 million fund is exhausted.

A payment schedule based on current retail baseline valuations, similar to those used in the 1996-97 Commonwealth buyback, has been developed in conjunction with industry stakeholders.

The schedule outlines the amount payable following surrender of a firearm, dependant on type, style, calibre, and initial registration date.

Firearms can be surrendered at any WA Police station. Unlicensed firearms may be surrendered without penalty and without fear of prosecution, however, they will not qualify for the buyback scheme.

The new firearms laws have been developed following years of extensive consultation with licence holders, the Primary Producers Firearms Advisory Board, industry stakeholders, and the community.

New legislation will see WA become the first state in Australia to introduce a limit on the number of firearms an individual can own. Other key changes include enhanced storage requirements, mandatory firearms training, compulsory health checks, new licence types, reform of the written authority system, and the introduction of mandatory disqualifying offences.

The overhaul of WA firearm laws were prompted following a police discovery, after a tip-off, of a cache of firearms including handguns, shotguns, military-grade weapons and a 50 calibre rifle — as well as more than 1000 rounds of ammunition, as reported in Illegal High Wycombe gun bunker man fined (Echo News, April 21, 2023).

Premier Roger Cook said the new laws strike a balance between the legitimate and responsible use of firearms and public safety.

“The changes will see WA introduce the most robust management of firearms in the country. This will also mean the state will be ready and equipped to participate in a national firearms registry.

“The crackdown will also modernise the way police record, monitor, and enforce our firearm legislation. In WA there are more than 360,000 licensed firearms owned by fewer than 90,000 people.”

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