News Desk

Why is Western Australia ignoring the National Firearms Agreement and going it alone?


The Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA) is concerned over plans the West Australian Police Minister is set to abandon specific sections of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) in rewriting the state’s gun laws.    

Australia’s National Firearms Agreement has been in effect for the last 27 years, with all Australian states and territories committed to upholding this agreement. The success of this agreement has seen governments across the political divide, declaring this agreement and its cornerstone principle of a nationally consistent approach to firearms regulation, as what keeps Australian’s safe from gun violence.   

Under the NFA, and currently in place in all jurisdictions across Australia, persons with a firearms license who want to acquire a firearm must demonstrate a genuine reason or need to acquire a firearm. Only if this reason or need is established can the Police then issue a permit to acquire. 

Yet, despite this system working for 27 years, and without producing a shred of evidence to the contrary, the WA police minister is looking to abandon this nationally consistent approach, in favour of introducing a set limit on the number of guns a license holder can own, regardless of whether there is a genuine reason or need to acquire.  

SIFA CEO James Walsh said “Questions need to be asked as to why WA is moving away from the NFA and looking to introduce a framework of inconsistent laws, the very thing the NFA sought to eliminate”.  

SIFA has raised concerns of the unintended consequences that will occur, across Australia if WA moves further away from the terms specified within the NFA, and what this will mean for plans for a National Firearms Registry, given consistent regulation is key to the success of this initiative. 

“We are concerned that with WA ignoring the NFA, this will signal to other jurisdictions that they too can regulate away from this agreement, which will remove any further attempts at seeking a nationally consistent approach to firearms regulation” Mr Walsh said.    

The topic of firearms limits was also examined in 2016 during the WA Law Reform Commission – Review of The Firearms Act 1973 (WA) Project 105.  

The final report into this review found that “The Commission is satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards built into the genuine reason (including reasonable justification) and genuine need tests to prevent the unjustified stockpiling of firearms and recommends that there be no upper limit on firearms numbers”.  

Several West Australian firearms dealers and their local trader’s association have told SIFA that their farming, hunting and sporting customers have expressed concern that given Western Australia already has the strictest firearms regulation in the country, a further move away from a nationally consistent approach will only disenfranchise law abiding people in Western Australia further. 

“At a time where the rest of Australia is working together, seeking national consistency in firearms regulation to implement a National Firearms Register, it is simply extraordinary that a single jurisdiction is going against the grain with a plan that is deliberately inconsistent with the rest of the country. What is it that WA knows that the rest of the country doesn’t?” Mr Walsh said. 

The Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia is calling on West Australian Premier Roger Cook to step in and stop this ‘go it alone’ approach we are seeing from police minister Paul Papalia and ensure that Western Australia upholds the terms of the National Firearms Agreement and seeks national consistency during the re-write of the state’s firearms act.  

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For further information, please contact: 

James Walsh
Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia
M: 0419 933 066


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