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The WA Government is proposing the “toughest” gun laws in Australia

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Premier Roger Cook said the laws would make WA the first state to impose a limit on the number of firearms someone can legally possess.
western australia new gun laws

The WA Government has proposed new gun laws it says would be the strictest in the country.

Premier Roger Cook said the laws would make WA the first state to impose a limit on the number of firearms someone can legally possess.

Here’s what you need to know.

Background

The new limits on firearm ownership come in the wake of a string of shootings across WA, including one in the Wheatbelt region in September that left two people dead.

The state government announced it was looking at firearm reforms late last year and has since held consultation sessions with gun owners and members of the public.

It has now presented the laws. The Labor party has a majority in both houses, meaning the laws will likely pass through unchanged.

Buybacks

The government has launched a buyback program aimed at getting more people to hand over their firearms. It’s similar to a scheme that was rolled out in the wake of the Port Arthur shooting in 1996, where owners handed in 650,000 guns.

People with gun licences will be able to surrender their guns at a police station anywhere across WA, where they can get a maximum of $1,000 for a gun.

The program will last until 31 August, and is tipped to cost more than $64 million.

What are Western Australia’s new gun laws?

WA Premier Roger Cook says the draft laws will mean WA is the first state to impose restrictions on the number of guns an individual licence holder can own.

Competitive shooters will be restricted to 10 guns, while guns for hunting will be capped at five.

The new laws will also strengthen penalties for the offences of pointing a gun at someone, using a gun while intoxicated, or giving a gun to someone who is drunk.

Opposition

WA Opposition Leader Shane Love said he’s still considering the new laws, but has described the consultation process as “nothing more than a sham”.

“Allowing WA’s 90,000 registered firearms owners just three weeks to provide feedback to a complex, 62-page document proposing significant changes to all aspects of the licensing and regulatory regime in WA makes a mockery of the consultation process,” Mr Love said.

He said the Opposition received more than 12,000 signatures urging for a longer consultation process.

Advocates

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation, dedicated to two infants who were killed in the Port Arthur shooting, has welcomed the new laws.

“These reforms should help keep Western Australians safe from firearm violence and reduce the likelihood of criminal access to dangerous firearms,” the foundation said.

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