The National Shooting Council has urged MPs in Western Australia to reject new gun laws proposed by Police Minister, Paul Papalia, that will require shooters to get regular mental health checks.
It said the minister has justified the news laws telling the media that 20 people died last year from firearm injuries, without explaining that they were caused by people who do not hold firearm licences.
Council spokesman, Peter Zabrdac, said the minister’s move was ultimately aimed at reducing firearm ownership, despite the lack of any problems involving licence firearm owners.
“The aim of this minister is to stop shooters from engaging in what they do”, he said.
“It is a measure aimed at stopping clay target shooting, stopping target shooting, stopping farmers from being able to control vermin, all because of a naïve and cruel perception that shooters are criminals in waiting.”
“Yet this was the same minister who let WA media outlets publish maps of the addresses of licences shooters which will encourage gun theft”
He said Minister Papalia has also misquoted a report by the Law Reform Commission in 2016, which did not support his claim that the report backed mental health checks.
“To the contrary, the review did not make that recommendation” he said. [Note: LRC review is at https://www.wa.gov.au/system/files/2021-02/LRC-Project-105-Final-Report.pdf] “The same review also made other recommendations that we support that the WA Government is yet to implement such as the removal of ‘appearance’ laws” Mr Zabrdac said the community should also be concerned that WA’s gun laws remain the most non-compliant laws with the National Firearms Agreement in the nation. “WA does not require gun purchases to be subjected to permits to acquire, does not recognise interstate licences, and still uses paper based licences which were phased out in other states decades ago.”
“Papalia has shown a disinterest in proper regulation or being a good minister. Either he needs to resign now, or McGowan does” he said.
The Council has written to state MPs ahead of next weeks sitting of Parliament, urging them to reject Papalia’s new laws and pushing for an audit of the state’s gun laws against the Law Reform Commission review and NFA.