In 2018, WA Police and WA Firearms Licencing went completely off the reservation in terms of their attacks on firearm owners.
Choking transport of firearms across the state via Australia Post, trying to shut down WA Shot Show, the “very powerful firearm” debacle and most recently their attack on Shane Aylmore and Ella Valla Station.
Well it didn’t take long in 2019 as we now have Operation Bluesun, a round of taxpayer funded storage inspections:
“More than 400 guns and more than 33,000 rounds of ammunition have been seized during a police operation in Western Australia. Operation Bluesun began in November with the aim of removing illegal guns while also promoting the secure storage of licensed weapons.
“Despite our public awareness campaign and our efforts to educate licensed firearm holders, a small number of people still declined to correctly store their weapons,” regional WA Commander Jo McCabe said on Thursday.
“Those people have been charged but the consequence could have been far worse if their firearm fell into the wrong hands as a result of their poor security practices.”
RESULTS FROM OPERATION BLUESUN:
– 2710 addresses visited, resulting in 2493 firearm cabinet inspections
– 398 firearms, including 28 handguns and 33,427 rounds of ammunition seized
– 185 owners charged for non-compliance
– 41 firearms relinquished
– 26 firearms reported lost or stolen
– 72 owners charged with 320 other offences.”
There are over 87,000 firearm owners in WA owning more than 320,000 firearms and growing. The numbers heralded by the press and WAPOL are completely miniscule in the grand scheme of things. It also shows the overwhelming majority of LAFO’s were doing the right thing.
What are the unrelated offences? What firearms were seized? Where were the offences? What were the storage offences? As is always the case without a proper data breakdown and context, this announcement is meaningless. An educated guess would assume that many of these were on rural properties in the middle of nowhere.
To be fair, WA firearm storage laws are completely over the top and deliberately onerous. Not to mention owners of firearms in WA are required to make a statutory declaration, take multiple photographs of their storage setup and send them into licencing. What could go wrong with a centralised database of firearm owners, with what guns they own, what safe they have and where it is in the house/business? As we all know, the government excels at IT security and it’s just a matter of time before the data breach occurs, if it hasn’t happened already.
The question is: how many known criminals had their doors kicked in and inspected for illegal firearms?
None it would seem:
WAPOL then put this video out:
“Well done firearm owners.”
Talk about patronising. Apparently LAFO’s do firearm safety better than WAPOL, as evidenced by their amnesty video from 2017 with a WAPOL member pointing a firearm at a cameraman.
And it appears WAPOL are up to their old tricks again:
“It is with great sadness that the club learnt overnight of a TRA Board decision to move the 2019 Nationals which will now be held in Sydney instead of Perth.
This will be a great disappointment to all our club members who were looking forward to participating in their first TRA National Championships here in Perth over Easter on our new Whiteman Park range.
This decision was caused by WASRA experiencing significant issues with WA Police which has scuttled important range preparation activities that were needed to be finalised about now.”
We’ll wait for the statement from WASRA, but it’s fair to assume leopard = spots.
If WAPOL want to get serious about cleaning up their act on firearms in WA, they could start with the following:
- Abolishing storage inspections and cutting down on the onerous requirements of firearm storage which requires expensive, mindless bureaucracy
- Legalise Airsoft as is currently being tabled by Liberal Democrats’ Aaron Stonehouse
- Introduce public land hunting as is currently being tabled by SFFP’s Rick Mazza
- Dropping their spurious case against Ella Valla Station and Shane Aylmore
- Reviewing their licencing fees (highest in the country) and reviewing their onerous system of licencing
Conducting storage inspections, aka warrantless searches of private property owners on a government register, is lazy policing and a pure statistics boost. It does nothing to stop criminal misuse of firearms. There are a lot more important matters and useful allocations of Police resources other than storage inspections. All the money spent on harassing firearm owners could have been spent on the bad guys where it’s actually needed. Why doesn’t WAPOL make the cost of Operation Bluesun public and then we can see how effective it really was?
Until then WAPOL are just furthering civilian disarmament at the behest of Michelle Roberts and the Labor Party, and it’s no surprise that the overt attacks on firearm ownership coincide with yet another Labor government, not that the LNP are any better.
WA is fast becoming Australia’s California, both economically and in terms of firearm ownership, unless both are reeled in.