The consultative period for WA's proposed firearms act reforms closed on Tuesday this week, despite more than 11,700 signatures on a petition calling on the State government for an extension.
The WA community had a month to provide feedback on the Firearms Bill Consultation Papers, which were released on October 17.
The draft papers revealed proposed restrictions for WA's licensed firearm owners, including a cap of 10 firearms for the new primary producers' licence category, a cap of five firearms for an individual recreational target or hunting licence and a cap of 10 for a club/competition licence holder.
If a person is authorised to hold both of the latter two licences, the draft consultation bill allows for them to have an overall combined maximum of 10 firearms, while primary producer licence holders will be able to have an overall combined maximum of 15 to 20 firearms, with the number dependent on the combination of licences held, as well as the provision that they can justify the need for the firearms.
The changes being proposed by the State government also include a complete overhaul of WA's firearm property letter system, designed to give ownership and control back to the State's landowners and leaseholders.
State opposition and The Nationals WA leader Shane Love said Police Minister Paul Papalia's decision to ignore pleas from members of the community to extend the consultative period demonstrated a lack of care for engaging in "good faith consultation".
"The petition, a clear expression of democratic concern, calls for an extension to ensure all stakeholders have the appropriate time to understand the government's proposed changes and provide feedback ahead of new legislation ahead of new legislation being introduced in parliament in 2024," Mr Love said.
"The last thing anyone in Western Australia wants is a botched consultation process like we saw with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act when the government ignored the pleas of tens of thousands of petitioners."
As part of the consultation process to reform WA's Firearms Act 1973, Mr Papalia said more than 100 meetings had been held with stakeholders and members of the firearm community since November 2021.
Speaking in parliament last week, he said there had been almost two years of consultation with peak bodies, representative groups and individual stakeholders leading to the release of the Firearms Act consultation paper.
"The pastoralists and graziers do not have a concern," Mr Papalia said.
"The WA Farmers' Federation (WAFarmers) does not have a concern.
The vegetable growers of Western Australia do not have a concern.
"The Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen's Association does not have a concern.
"Wines of WA does not have a concern.
"They are comfortable that there has been almost two years of consultation.
"They want to get on with seeing the bill."
Questions remain over the estimated compensation that will be paid to WA's firearm owners who will be required to surrender their firearms under the legislative reforms, as well as the administrative costs for WA Police to track compliance.
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