Cattle station owners and workers throughout remote WA are in a legal stand-off with WA Police in the State Administrative Tribunal after being stripped of their handguns and revolvers, which they say are integral to working and living on the land.
Lawyer Ross Williamson, who is representing the group, said police had taken guns from dozens of people in the past 18 months, including some who worked in water where crocodiles lived and mining prospectors who travelled down shafts into pits with snakes.
Mr Williamson said most of the men had had the guns for up to 20 years and were bewildered as to why they were being taken from them under laws introduced after Martin Bryant shot dead 35 people at Port Arthur in Tasmania in 1996.
Det-Sen. Sgt Shane Atkins said police had taken handguns and licences from about 400 people. He said legislation no longer provided for pastoralists to have handguns but stressed the group was not being singled out.
“Some of these people have had firearms for quite a period of time but it is not in compliance with what legislation says at this point in time,” Det-Sen. Sgt Atkins said. He added that other professionals had traditionally held firearms but now could not, citing jewellers as an example.
Gindalbie Station owner Steve Tonkin, who still has a handgun he has owned for 27 years, has been told that Kalgoorlie police have a letter requesting he turn in his gun.
He said the lack of trust was “absolutely ridiculous”.
Mr. Tonkin, you better watch it: not only did you have one of those very-politically-incorrect-and-disapproved-by-the-nanny-state handguns, you've now said that their lack of trust in you is 'ridiculous'. You're absolutely correct, but that doesn't matter: you've been told by your