WA Firearms Bill Proposes New Firearm Related Offences

Thursday 16 December 2021 @ 10.25 a.m. | Crime | Judiciary, Legal Profession & Procedure | Legal Research

The Firearms Amendment Bill 2021 (WA) ('the Bill') was introduced into the Western Australian Legislative Assembly by Minister for Police Papalia (' the Minister') on 24 November 2021.

The Bill seeks to amend:

  • the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (28 of 1913) (WA);
  •  the Criminal Organisations Control Act 2012 (49 of 2012) (WA);
  • the Firearms Act 1973 (36 of 1973) (WA); and
  • the Prohibited Behaviour Orders Act 2010 (59 of 2010) (WA).

The Bill also contains consequential amendments to other Acts.

The Bill's Explanatory Memorandum summarises that the amendments within the Bill are intended to:

"tackle serious and organised crime and offending which involves or may involve firearms, for example family violence. The Bill introduces firearms prohibition orders, firearms technology and “taking-part-in” offences aimed at tackling the illegal manufacture of firearms, and a permanent general amnesty into the Firearms Act 1973 (Firearms Act), increases the penalties in relation to stealing firearms and possession of stolen firearms, and modernises out-dated definitions within the Firearms Act."

The Bill is still yet to pass the lower house.

Firearms Prohibition Order Scheme 

The Bill seeks to introduce the Firearms Prohibition Order ('FPO') scheme.

The Bill's Explanatory Memorandum explains that under the FPO scheme:

"the Commissioner of Police (Commissioner) the power to make a FPO against a person, if satisfied that:

(a) possession of a firearm or related items by the person would likely result in undue danger to life or property; or

(b) the person is not a fit and proper person to possess a firearm etc; or

(c) it is in the public interest for a FPO to be made against the person."

Once a person is issued an FPO, the person will be prevented fro having access to firearms or related items, and may be subject to a number of conditions.

The Bill also contains the introduction of a new enforcement scheme for FPOs. The Bill also proposes specific enforcement powers for the police in regards to FPOs, in order to determine if a prohibited person has committed an offence in relation to their order. The Bill's explanatory memorandum summarises these powers to include:

  • "stop and search the prohibited person and a person who is in their company;
  • enter and search any place occupied by, or under the control of the prohibited person, including any vehicle at the place; and
  • stop, detain and search any vehicle being occupied by the prohibited person, regardless of where the vehicle is located."

Additional Offences

The Bill also contains additional offences in regards to the unlawful manufacture, repair, or dealing of firearms, parts, accessories or ammunition.

Other amendments proposed by the Bill include the introduction of offences regarding:

  • participation in unlawful firearms activity; and
  • the unauthorised possession, creation, development, or dissemination of firearms technology.

The Bill will also proposes the creation of a permanent amnesty to encourage the surrender of firearms.

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Firearms Amendment Bill 2021 (WA) and additional explanatory material available from TimeBase's LawOne Service

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