Police Minister Paul Papalia lobbied the Federal Government to send 280 high-powered firearms as part of WA’s buyback scheme to Ukraine to help in the war against Russia. His bid to send the weapons abroad was, however, rejected and the haul of weapons will be destroyed. “I did inquire with the Federal Government as to whether we might be able to send them to Ukraine to be used as many of them are military-style firearms or sniper rifles,’ Mr Papalia said. “It doesn’t look like that will be able to happen, so they’ll be destroyed. Obviously, the export of firearms or military equipment is under the control of the Federal Government.” More than $1 million has been spent on the buyback scheme, with the total expected to rise as more weapons are processed. The scheme is part of the WA Government’s overhaul of its outdated firearm laws in the wake of the brazen public assassination of bikie boss Nick Martin with a sniper rifle in December 2020. As of July 1, hundreds of guns and several calibres of ammunition became illegal as part of the WA’s firearms laws overhaul. When he announced the scheme in February, former WA Premier Mark McGowan said the weapons subject to the ban were only appropriate for war zones like Ukraine. There had been a last-minute rush to surrender the weapons. Despite the late influx, Mr Papalia said the process ran smoothly for WA Police. Many of the weapons were handed in by retailers in Perth’s metropolitan, with a handful received from the regional areas. Mr Papalia said some of the weapons had been sent to other States where they were legal. Some gun owners instead opted to alter their high-powered rifles so that they complied with the new laws. Speaking in Perth on Friday, Mr Papalia said WA Police were satisfied with the scheme and thanked firearms licence holders for their cooperation, commending those who came forward and handed their powerful firearms into police. “Removing hundreds of very high-powered firearms from the community has made WA safer for residents and police,” he said. “These firearms are now not lawful in WA — they’re prohibited. If you are found with one of these firearms, you are committing an offence.” While gun owners are compensated for guns, they aren’t paid for any bullets handed in. Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the high-powered firearms were either surrendered, sent outside of WA or modified to meet the updated licensing requirements. “This buyback and the ongoing rewrite of WA’s firearm laws will ensure community safety comes first and make an already tough job safer for my officers, who are out on our streets day and night protecting our community,” he said. A spokesman for Defence Minister Richard Marles said he was “proud” of Australia’s track-record of support for Ukraine. “As the Deputy Prime Minister has said, Australia is proud to be one of the largest non-NATO contributors in support of Ukraine,” he told The West Australian. “Australia will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes for Ukraine to resolve this conflict on its terms.” The history and maintenance of the WA weapons haul is unknown and due to their diversity, could pose a logistical issue for the Federal Government.