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Captive bolts exempt from WA Firearms Act

The efforts of WAFarmers and other industry groups to have all types of captive bolts and their ammunitions exempted from the Firearms Act 1973 (WA) have been applauded by industry.

In the final report of the Review of the Firearms Act 1973 (WA), released recently by the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, the Commission noted that as captive bolts were excluded from the definition of firearm in the majority of other Australian states and territories, removal from the definition of firearms would bring WA in line with other Australian jurisdictions.

However, when considering potential risks to community safety and the breadth of devices and ammunition, the Commission recommended that a captive bolt be specifically defined and excluded from the definition of a firearm. To this end, the Commission recommended that it be defined as a device designed for use in the humane killing or stunning of livestock by means of a retractable bolt.

Further, the Commission recommended that a captive bolt should be defined as a controlled weapon under the Weapons Act 1999 (WA) and that it be a lawful excuse to use or possess a captive bolt for the purposes of animal welfare.

WAFarmers Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brown said the recommendations were a win for industry, particularly the dairy industry.

“We acknowledge all those involved in advocating for the removal of captive bolts from the Firearms Act, particularly our own team at WAFarmers and the Dairy Council,” he said.

“By redefining captive bolts and then excluding them from the Act, it will remove much burdensome red tape from agricultural-based businesses and industries, thus increasing time efficiency and productivity.

“We now look forward to working with Dairy Australia to run full captive bolt training in WA and developing a training kit for use within the state.”

WAFarmers understands that WA Police will soon contact each organisation and individual that has captive bolt guns currently licenced as a firearm to advise they are no longer required to licences them, as they now fall under the Weapons Act 1999 (WA).

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