Perth bikie wars: How Western Australia’s planned firearms ban mimics laws in NSW, Vic

Proposed sweeping changes to firearms possession in Western Australia follow in the shadow of changes in NSW and Victoria, where authorities have the power to stop and search on request if a person is subject to a ban.

WA police are set to be supported by new legislation to keep weapons out of the hands of motorcycles and other serious criminals following a wave of public shootings, with the headline of the murder of Rebels boss Nick Martin.

The ceasefire orders have helped curb gun crime in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Police Minister Paul Papalia has announced new police powers and harsh penalties for cracking down on motorcycles and organized crime.  Pictured is Minister Papalia with WA Police Deputy Commissioner Col Blanch and members of the Gang Crime Group at a Belmont police facility
Camera iconPolice Minister Paul Papalia has announced new police powers and harsh penalties for cracking down on motorcycles and organized crime. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The Western Australian

Under NSW law, firearms bans can be issued by the Chief of Police after nomination by police officers or personnel in the firearms register.

A person subject to a FPO can risk a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison if found with a gun or a prohibited firearm, or five years in prison in any other case.

NSW Police have the power to stop and detain any vehicle driven by a person subject to a FPO for the purpose of a search.

Jarred James Marko, Vice President of the Bandidos’ Mid-North Coast Division, was recently arrested after officers from the elite police Raptor Squad conducted a FPO inspection of his home in June.

Bandido Jarred Marko was arrested at his home in Weston in June following a search of the firearms ban.  NSW police.
Camera iconBandido Jarred Marko was arrested at his home in Weston in June following a search of the firearms ban. NSW police. Credit: Delivered

Police believe ammunition, a wooden rifle, a knife and hashish have been seized from the property.

The senior bike has pleaded not guilty to several serious charges, including possession of a prohibited weapon in violation of a prohibition order and possession of ammunition.

According to quarterly data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), the number of banned and regulated gun offenses fell by 11.6 percent during the 24 months to June this year.

In Victoria, the FPO legislation – introduced in 2018 – allows police to ban people subject to orders from visiting shooting ranges and clubs, gunshots and even paintball locations.

Offenders subject to a FPO risk a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and may risk up to eight years in prison if they are in possession of a muffler or other prescribed object.

1038 people have been beaten with the bans since 2018.

Last year, there were nine fatal shootings and 41 non-fatal shootings that resulted in personal injury, with police seizing more than 770 firearms.

REBELS Bikie Boss Colin Websdale
Camera iconSenior Rebels bikie Colin Websdale successfully challenged her FPO, but a Victorian court later ruled in favor of police keeping the ban in place. Ian Currie Credit: Corp Australia company profile

Senior Rebels bike Colin Websdale – which was placed on a FPO the same year the laws were introduced – successfully fought its order, but it was eventually revoked by the Court of Appeal.

Earlier this year, a new illegal firearms unit was set up in Victoria Police in an attempt to curb the tracking and manufacture of illegal weapons.

In Queensland, no specific FPO legislation has been drafted into law, but maximum penalties of up to 13 years in prison apply for illegal possession of a weapon.

In 2019, Opposition MP Trevor Watts introduced a bill that would insert the FPO into the existing Firearms Act, making it illegal for a person subject to the order to possess or acquire a firearm along with restrictions on participating in firing ranges or being in the company of a person with a firearm.

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