New laws being considered by state parliament could give the police ‘a blank cheque’ to search any of WA’s 2.6m residents, and their homes.
Laws for everyone
The National Shooting Council says the laws to introduce Firearm Prohibition Orders will allow police to conduct searches on any person, regardless of whether or not they have engaged in any illegal activity, or had any interest in firearms.
Council spokesman, Peter Zabrdac, said the government said the laws would target bikies and criminals, but the laws currently before parliament don’t mention them.
Instead the laws apply to any “person”, which means the government is giving police a blank cheque to slap an order on anyone they don’t like.
He said the laws are vague and come without any protections against misuse, such as being used for political purposes or to target the media.
“We get the need to get illegal guns off the street and away from criminals, but the legislation doesn’t say that”, he said.
“It doesn’t even mention criminals or illegal behaviour. Instead the legislation will allow an Order to be put on any person, regardless of age .”
“All it requires is that police consider an Order to be ‘in the public interest’, without saying what that means. The lack of any criminal history or association becomes irrelevant.”
Even those on holiday could get caught up
He said the laws are so broad, the police can search premises ‘managed’ by a person who is subject to an Order.
“The new laws mean you could be on holiday with your family at a motel in WA, and find the police kicking your door down in the middle of the night”.
“There are no bounds to who these laws will apply to”
Moving away from uniform gun laws
He said the new laws also move Western Australia further away from uniform gun laws under the National Firearms Agreement.
“Western Australia does not provide for mutual recognition of interstate shooters’ licences, and licences each firearm rather that use the same permit system used in other states”, Mr Zabrdac said.
“The new laws will now make WA even more non-compliant than it already is”.
He said the Council has written to the Police Minister seeking an urgent meeting to discuss the matter.