Government offers firearm owners money to hand in weapons

Government offers firearm owners money to hand in weapons

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Police Minister Paul Papalia

Firearm owners will be offered up to $1000 to hand in their weapons, before new ownership laws are introduced to State Parliament next week.

Ahead of the Labor’s long-promised gun reforms, touted as the toughest in the nation, Police Minister Paul Papalia has released details of a $64 million, six-month gun buyback scheme which will start next Wednesday.

West Australians will be able to sell their licensed revolvers to the Government for up to $1000.

Semi-automatic handguns will fetch up to $833 while double-barrelled shotguns less than six years old will net $750.

Every individual licensed gun owner will be eligible for compensation using a payment schedule that the Government compares to the nationwide scheme that followed the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.

“My government’s new laws strike a balance between the legitimate and responsible use of firearms and public safety,” Premier Roger Cook said.

“There are more than 360,000 licensed firearms owned by fewer than 90,000 Western Australians, and the new legislation will impact all of them in a responsible way.”

Mr Papalia will introduce long-awaited gun reform into Parliament next Wednesday.

“Law changes will make it harder to obtain a firearm licence, there will be stricter regulation surrounding where you can use and store firearms, and many Western Australians who purchased a property letter online as a reason to get a licence may struggle to get a new written authority,” he said.

“The $64.3 million buyback will remove tens of thousands of unnecessary firearms from the community, and see the Cook Government establish WA as the first state in Australia to place limits on the number of firearms a person can own.”

Licensed owners have until September to take part in the buyback or until the allocated $64.3 million is exhausted.

The guns can be surrendered at any WA Police station.

Under the State’s proposed laws, limits will be linked to licence types tailored to the different needs of owners and some of these licence types will have numerical limits.

Farmers and gun club members will be restricted to 10 firearms while recreational shooters will only be able to own five.

State, national or international level competition shooters may be able to apply to own more than 10.