More than 300 outlaw bikies legally possess firearms as police welcome new powers to restrict gun ownership after admitting ‘we are powerless to stop them’
- Over 300 outlaw bikies and associates legally hold firearm licenses in WA
- A new prohibition on firearms will see tougher penalties on gun crimes in WA
- Criminally connected Western Australians won’t be able to obtain licenses
Some 300 bikies and associates have firearm licences and can legally source deadly shotguns, handguns, and rifles.
The revelation in Western Australia includes 312 patched members, former members and associates of motorcycle gangs in the state who could buy and legally hold a gun.
WA Police Minister Paul Papalia said the alarming statistic, obtained by the West Australian, demonstrated the need for stringent firearm prohibition orders about to come into effect in the state.
‘Right now we can’t do a thing to stop them,’ he admitted.
The Firearm Prohibition Scheme will outlaw the manufacture of 3D-printed guns, increase the penalties for gun-related crimes and, importantly for WA police, ban anyone suspected of posing a threat to the community from holding a licence.
It will also ban those deemed dangerous to the public from living where firearms are stored.
Some 300 bikies and bikie affiliates legally hold licenses to firearms and deadly weapons in Western Australia as police look to crackdown on gang-related gun violence with new laws
Nick Martin (left, leaving court with Rebels affiliates in Perth) was killed in a public shooting at a drag strip in 2020, sparking fears of a rise in gang tensions and gun crime
Penalties for drive-by shootings, or shooting a gun at a house or building, will also be increased under the scheme.
Gel blasters will also be banned as a ‘prohibited weapon’.
Mr Papalia said too many firearms in the state were unsecured and easy to steal.
‘Worse still, under our outdated firearm laws, criminals in WA don’t even have to steal a firearm to get their hands on a gun,’ he said.
‘They are getting them legally. That’s why we are changing the laws.’
Police have routinely uncovered large numbers of unsecured guns in Western Australia (above, seized weapons from a Federal police raid)
Western Australia’s Firearm Prohibition Scheme will stop those deemed dangerous to the community from being granted firearm licenses following an intense period of escalating gang war tensions (above, police at the scene of an alleged bikie shooting)
Openly available police data shows gun violence in Western Australia has been high in recent years.
Over the past three years the state has seen an average of 531 crimes involving a firearm each year.
The brazen 2020 assassination of Rebels bikie boss Nick Martin at a speedway event at the Perth Motorplex spurred the state’s war on guns amid fears of escalating gang tensions.
A bullet that travelled 335m tore through Martin’s chest in front of hundreds of families and children.
A former soldier who must remain anonymous for legal reasons was subsequently arrested for the sniper attack, after admitting he accepted $100,000 for taking out Martin.
Previous Federal and WA Police raids in recent years have turned up large amounts of unsecured guns, including a mass of them found buried under a property.
Gun theft has also been a common trend in home burglaries.
Between 2019 and 2021, the state saw an average of 211 incidents of gun theft from home burglaries.