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WA joins the ranks of ineffective firearm registries

ANOTHER damning state auditor-general’s report regarding the huge problems facing a state firearms registry has been handed down, with Western Australia in the firing line this time – and one of the country’s pre-eminent peak bodies says it’s further proof firearm registration doesn’t work.

The Firearms Controls Audit, issued by WA auditor-general Caroline Spencer earlier this week, took aim at “control and functionality weaknesses” in the state’s licensing and registration (L&R) system, finding it “does not effectively support the entity to carry out its licensing and compliance activities” and “does not currently provide the functionality required to help police effectively regulate firearms”.

“The L&R system has a number of control and functionality weaknesses around data input, logging and monitoring of data access, authorisation for approving licences, system access and reporting,” the report said.

“These create a risk to the integrity, reliability and completeness of information in the system, and limit Police’s ability to measure, report and evaluate its regulatory performance.”

The audit uncovered examples of staff using their own spreadsheets to manage data including licence applications and deceased estate firearms, and that the system had a “limited ability to extract reliable information” including on basic information like the total number of firearms in WA.
Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park said once again, Australians were being presented with clear and unequivocal evidence that firearms registries were not fit for purpose and had no community safety benefit.

“First it was NSW, now WA – two states with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, found this year alone to have firearms registries which are not fit for purpose,” he said.

“Registries make people feel safer, but they achieve nothing in the real world. The police know who has a gun licence, therefore they know who has a gun. In fact, I gather police response protocols are generally to assume a firearm is present at an incident, which makes the specifics of what guns someone has irrelevant anyway.

“Make no mistake, we fully support the licensing and background checks of firearms owners – but maintaining an expensive, inaccurate and essentially useless firearms registry is an irresponsible waste of taxpayer’s money with no proven public safety benefit.

“We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: The money and resources being used to fund and maintain firearms registries should immediately be diverted to frontline police to help them focus on keeping our streets safe and dealing with serious crimes against people.”

Shooters Union Australia is a pre-eminent peak body representing the more than one million lawful firearms users in Australia.

President Graham Park: president@shootersunion.com.au or 0418 700 320
Media Officer Royce Wilson: media@shootersunion.com.au or 0410 645 035

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