In a comprehensive examination of the discussion paper outlining proposed changes to firearms laws in Western Australia, the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia has unveiled a series of troubling findings, branding the reforms as “solutions looking for problems.”
SIFA’s analysis challenges the legitimacy of the proposed reforms on multiple fronts:
- Failure to Address Stated Objectives: Contrary to the claims made by the Minister, SIFA’s analysis contends that the proposed changes are unlikely to deliver on any of the eight objectives they purport to address.
- Neglect of Public Safety Risks: Firearm incidents are less than 5% of all crimes against the person, meaning that these reforms will have no impact on more than 94% of everyday public safety risks faced by Western Australians.
- Minimal Impact on Black Market: SIFA can reveal that the anticipated impact on reducing stolen firearms entering the black market is marginal, with an estimated decrease of only 10 firearms annually out of a total of 3,006 from all sources.
- Ineffectiveness in Preventing Legal Gun Thefts: In over 90% of theft incidents, the proposed reforms are predicted to make no difference in preventing the theft of legal guns.
- Lack of Consistency with Established Guidelines: SIFA asserts that the proposed reforms deviate from established frameworks, including the WA Cabinet Handbook, the WA Better Regulation Guidelines, the 2022 WA Labor election platform, and the WAPol strategic plan.
- Introduces further inconsistencies with the National Firearms Agreement: The proposed reforms, exacerbate existing inconsistencies with the National Firearms Agreement (NFA). This raises significant questions about the harmonisation of Western Australia’s laws with national standards.
The overall assessment paints a bleak picture of the proposed reforms, characterised as a “case study in how not to do regulation”. Frankly, Western Australians deserve better from their regulatory authorities.
Given the lack of genuine consultation to date on the proposed changes, SIFA again calls on the Minister to stop rushing this process through and listen to the concerns raised by the Western Australia shooting industry.