Historic WA  firearm laws enter Parliament

Premier Roger Cook said the Firearms Bill modernises Western Australia’s gun licensing regime and prioritises public safety.
February 29, 2024

THE largest overhaul of firearms laws in Western Australia’s history entered Parliament last week following years of extensive consultation with licence holders, industry stakeholders and the broader public.

Law changes will enhance public safety by implementing stricter licensing and storage requirements, introducing compulsory training and health checks as well as mandatory disqualifying offences. It will also see Western Australia become the first state or territory to impose a limit on the number of firearms an individual can own.

While there have been several amendments to the Act over the years, there has been no structural reform since it was enacted back in 1973.

A $64.3 million Cook Government funded voluntary firearm buyback is now open to all individual firearms licence holders across the State, with owners eligible to receive a maximum of $1,000 for their gun, dependant on type, style, calibre and initial registration date.

Firearms can be surrendered at any WA Police station. Unlicensed firearms may be surrendered via the State’s ongoing amnesty, however, the person in possession is not eligible to receive compensation.

The buyback will remain open until Saturday, August 31 2024, or until funding is exhausted.

In addition to rewriting the State’s 50-year-old Firearms Act, the state government has already more than doubled the penalties for anyone convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm or unlawfully discharging a firearm in public, outlawed 3D printed guns and introduced Firearm Prohibition Orders to target bikies and other organised crime figures.

Premier Roger Cook said the Firearms Bill modernises Western Australia’s gun licensing regime and prioritises public safety above the privilege of owning a firearm.

“Farmers who use firearms to do their job, club members who use them to participate in their sport and recreational hunters who help landowners to control vermin are all accommodated for in the new legislation.

“However, some current gun owners may struggle to prove their legitimate need for a licence when the laws change.”

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