Firearms Bill Amendments In Response To Floreat Tragedy

  • New powers to seize firearms without a warrant following domestic violence report
  • Mandatory police enforcement to improve public safety
  • ‘Family violence’ explicitly outlined throughout the Bill, removing any ambiguity
  • Stricter requirements for Collectors Licences to further limit access to handguns
  • Amendments to be introduced in the Legislative Council today

The Cook Labor Government will introduce further safety measures to their historic nation-leading firearms legislation in response to the horrific circumstances surrounding the Floreat murders of Jennifer and Gretl Petelczyc.

The innocent mother and daughter were shot by a licensed firearms owner searching for his estranged wife and daughter, using a handgun and ammunition he owned under Collectors Licences.

The new measures, to be introduced to Parliament today, will see WA Police carry out the mandatory seizure of firearms without a warrant when domestic violence, or the threat of, is reported against a licensee.

‘Family violence’ – as defined by its meaning under Section 5A of the Restraining Orders Act 1997 (RO Act) – will also be explicitly included throughout the Bill to remove ambiguity and provide greater weight to ‘fit and proper’ status considerations, noting this does not simply focus on physical violence, but also coercive control behaviours.

In addition, for an individual to obtain/retain a Collectors Licence, potential licensees must be a student of arms (shown to have a prolonged and genuine interest in the study, preservation or collection of firearms) and be a member of an approved society of firearm collectors.

Due to their ability to be concealed or ease of use, handguns and other higher-risk firearms – such as Category C guns like semi-automatics – pose a greater risk to public safety.

The collection of handguns will only be allowed when an individual can prove the significant historical value (e.g. certificate of authenticity) of a firearm which was manufactured more than 50 years prior to the date of application.

Similarly, to legally collect Category C firearms, the licensee must illustrate significant historical value by producing evidence.

Regulations will also prohibit the collection of live ammunition for any firearm listed against a Collectors Licence.

The changes are to be introduced and debated while the Bill is before the Legislative Council.

As stated by Premier Roger Cook:

“Family and domestic violence is a despicable scourge on society right across the nation and something we must make a stand against.

“Government or gun reform alone won’t solve this problem, but we know there is an increased risk to family and domestic violence victims when firearms are easily accessible – and that is why we are taking tough action to address that.

“It would be irresponsible of us not to consider the circumstances surrounding the senseless murders of Jennifer and Gretl Petelczyc, that’s why we are introducing appropriate amendments in an attempt to stop something similar happening in the future.

“Our firearms reforms have been two years in the making, and have gone through extensive consultation, so now is the time to pass these sensible laws and protect our community.”

As stated by Police Minister Paul Papalia:

“The events that contributed to Jennifer and Gretl’s tragic deaths are something we have never confronted before, but they’ve highlighted ways we as Government can make Western Australia a safer place.

“Our new firearms laws were already set to be the toughest in the country and include many protections for vulnerable people – we make no apology for strengthening them even further.

“Firearms reform is just a one element needed to address the blight that is family and domestic violence – we all have a role to play and we must work together as a community to create change.”

As stated by Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Sabine Winton:

“The Cook Government’s highest priority is taking action against family and domestic violence.

“That’s why we continue to invest in initiatives that support victim-survivors and hold perpetrators accountable for their behaviour.

“The Cook Government continues to work across agencies to address this scourge on our society and I encourage all Western Australians to consider how they too can play their part to help stop family and domestic violence.”

/Public Release. View in full here.