Blog #12 My take on Air Rifle laws in West Australia (WA)
Air Rifle laws across Australia all vary between States and Territories with regulations that appear to be left to the interpretation of the issuing Officer(s) on many occasions. I think the main reason for this is that these regulations have not kept pace with air rifle development, style, calibers, power or consumer demand. And there again, if you read the Regulations, the first words out of your mouth are WTF…???
Let me give you an example: I want to get a B709 to import some PCP air rifles, namely the Evanix Max-ML Bull-pups and some Benjamin Armadas from Korea and the USA. For those of you new to B709s, it is a Police Certificate that states that the Firearm (to be imported) meets with the State regulations for licensing to the public. So first thing I did was send the list of air rifles to the Border Protection guys (Customs) who responded that THEY had NO issues with the import providing the suppliers removed the silencers and shrouds and the state Police approved.
I then sent the same air rifle list to the Police Firearms branch for pre-approval so that I would not have any dramas when and if I bought them into the country. Well they knocked back the Evanix Max-MLs and the Benjamin Armadas because they “resemble firearms that are prohibited under Regulation 26” (Military Style). So do any number of other PCP air rifles, so what? They are only bloody air guns at the end of the day.
My interpretation of this regulation is that it is intended to prohibit these air rifles (and rifles) that look like the prohibited guns of Regulation 26 from being licensed in WA. I did point this out to them and also stated to the Firearms Branch that these 2 air rifle models, the Max-ML and Armada, are approved for sale in Queensland for example, where I do a lot of my business and have orders for the same.
I do not believe the regulations were aimed at a Dealer who sells inter-state as the regulations were written a long time ago, probably before the Internet, maybe even before the typewriter, who knows. As a Dealer I feel I should be allowed to stock these PCP air rifles if only for sale over East, as to prohibit me from doing so, they effectively limit my ability to earn a livelihood.
I don’t want to come across as ‘bashing’ the Police in the Firearms Branch, as my dealings with the guys who do my air rifle audits and security has been great, better in fact than one would expect. The issue is that of “interpretation”, when it is mistakenly influenced by political correctness and left at the discretion of what appears to be negatively thinking personnel. There appears to be little if any regard to issues such as mine as a Dealer, where their decision has a negative impact on my earning capacity.
Firearm Buy Back Scheme.
Let’s look at the Firearm Buy Back scheme that was probably drawn up by relatives of the greenies and tree huggers who made their point in the WA Firearms Act written in about the 1800s. What did they intend to achieve apart from disarming Australians? Think it through guys.
Can you see a bunch of Bikers taking their Glocks in for a cash payment, or the local gangs, muggers, bank robbers and criminals doing it? I will tell you who handed them in, it was the ill informed Australian Public who fell for the dialogue of the spin doctors who were appointed (at great cost no doubt) to “sell” the idea to the public.
Did it make Australia a safer place because some greenies felt that there were too many illegal gun owners or the criminals had too many firearms? It isn’t the public that needs educating on firearms, it is the greenies and politicians who want to be seen as doing the ‘right thing’, regardless if it is right or not. Just plain BULLSHIT.
Participating in a gun buy back program because you think that criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you think your neighbors have too many kids.
That says it all.
Air Rifle Regulation Summary.
As for restricting me from holding these PCP air rifles, the Max-ML and Armada, I will be seeking legal advice on the matter and looking for a ‘work-around’ as I am far from finished yet. Any of you legal beagles reading this that have an idea, please text me on 0421 733 818 and I will call you back.
I want to explore the options of whether a Bonded Warehouse would side step this issue or similar trading or storage option can be used. Any ideas?
The main point that the Firearms Branch is missing, is that consumer demand has driven manufacturers to develop air rifles using pressed section metals in their frames and casings (i.e., Max-ML and many of the Evanix Range) to reduce cost, increase reliability and still provide longevity and ease of maintenance. This provides for inter-changeability of parts, benefits in economies of scale (of production) and a commonality of parts.
This is basically the same criteria used by manufacturers of “military” firearms as they have to compete on price and performance much like the manufacturers of air rifles do, so it is not surprising that they end up using similar materials and designs to achieve this outcome. They end up looking more Industrial than Military but again, that is open for interpretation.
How my application to stock these types of air rifles has been assessed negatively is an all too common occurrence here, whereby the few officers assigned to ‘interpret’ the regulations lack imagination and foresight, so they play it safe with the status quo.
A Dealer who stocks these types of PCP air rifles for sale over East does so to keep abreast of consumer demand and failing to do so, means failing in business and getting left behind. At the end of the day, we are talking about an air rifle not a Winchester 308 Magnum and whether or not I stock them, has no bearing on licencing them to the public in WA, in fact it does not negatively impact on anyone or anything, except perhaps some over-inflated egos.
Author: Ian McIntosh (April 2016)