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New South Wales

NSW extends open season on deer by 5 years

NSW has extended the suspension of certain deer hunting regulations until 2026, meaning hunters can take deer on private property (with landowner’s permission) without needing an R Licence.

Deer may now be hunted on private property and in state forests in NSW all year round, and electronic game callers are also permitted for use in state forests too.

Hunting in state forests will still require an R Licence and written permission from DPI.

For more details, visit: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/hunting/game-and-pests/managing-feral-
deer-in-nsw

Shooters Union NSW Fights for a Greater Voice

Shooters Union NSW has been busy this month making sure the voices of law-abiding firearms users are heard, starting with a positively received appearance by state co-ordinator Craig Golding on ABC Illawarra late last month regarding proposed controversial changes to the state’s animal welfare legislation, and our concerns they will be used to make life even more difficult for hunters.

SU NSW have also applied for membership of the Firearms Registry Consultative Council again – with a reminder to the powers that be that we aren’t some fringe group to be ignored.

Craig has also been chasing up on  delayed licence applications with the Firearms Registry; a friendly firearms dealer, one of our members has been waiting more than a year for licences to be processed.  It’s just not good enough.

Cross Border Problems

We have become aware of shooters recently running into difficulties with Queensland licence renewals when using properties in New South Wales or other states as their licence genuine reason. This has the potential to affect a lot of shooters, especially primary producers and recreational hunters.

We have raised with the Queensland Weapons Licencing Branch our concern that this change appears to have been made with no consultation and, more importantly, without notifying shooting community representatives.

In all eastern states it is long accepted practice that you may be resident in one state but have your genuine reason geographically located in another state. In fact that practice seems to support the concept of uniform firearms laws via the NFA.

We are chasing down who made the decision that interstate properties were no longer an acceptable reason for Queensland residents to obtain a firearms licence and, more seriously, why the decision was made and the legislative basis for the decision.

Shooters Union NSW calls for end to mandatory attendances

NSW is the only state in Australia that requires long arms licensees to attend events a certain number of times per year as a condition of keeping their licence, and Shooters Union believes it is an unreasonable and unnecessary requirement that should be abolished.

Consequently, Shooters Union NSW has formally written to the state Firearms Registry Consultative Committee calling for an end to mandatory participation requirements for rifle and shotgun owners.

Among other points, the letter notes that “Since the outbreak of Covid 19, mandatory attendance requirements have been modified to take into account the rapidly changing Covid 19 situation. These changes, while being welcomed, have demonstrated that the removal of mandatory attendance requirements have had no negative effect on public safety.”

We’ll keep you up to date with further developments.

Lockdown book giveaway winners

Earlier this month, we ran a special competition just for our NSW and Victorian members to help them get through the continuing lockdowns. Cleaver Firearms donated five copies of the latest Nick Harvey practical reloading manual and five copies of the Hayes Handgun Omnibus reference book.

The winners are:

  • Nick Harvey Practical Reloading Manual 11 th Edition
  • Matthew D (VIC), Mark F (VIC), Ian G (VIC), Peter S (VIC), David S (NSW)
  • Hayes Handgun Omnibus
  • Darryl C (NSW), Glyn C, Daryl L (VIC), Rhys M (VIC), Dane M (NSW)

Congratulations to all our winners, thank you to everyone who entered, and an even bigger thank you to Cleaver Firearms for so generously providing the prizes!

How did Shooters get the NSW Shotgun ban overturned?

THIS week’s news that NSW FAR has reversed its ill-considered decision to ban the Adler B230 and Berika EXT-12 shotguns is a win for shooters in The Premier State – but it wouldn’t have happened without the tireless work of some of NSW’s top shooting groups.

Shooters Union stood shoulder-to-shoulder with SIFA, the NSW Firearm Dealer’s Association and SSAA Sydney as part of a Coalition of NSW Shooting Groups to overturn the ban.

Among other things, Shooters Union NSW co-ordinator Craig Golding wrote a series of letters to MPs across NSW and spoke directly to the NSW Police Minister’s office and the Firearms Registry (FAR) directly outlining our concerns and demands the decision be reversed.

Those concerns included the lack of consultation, the lack of official notice (the overwhelming majority of dealers were not notified officially in writing of the decision) and the fact the ban was completely ridiculous and not supported by legislation.

Suggestions of “public malfeasance of office” relating to the arbitrary and clearly ideological nature of the ban may also have been made, too.

These weren’t one-time things, either. When the FAR directed our enquiries to “Senior Management”, Craig was straight back in there demanding “Who are these people? What are their contact details? Who and what authorises them to make these decisions?”

Every single day, we made it very clear to the Police Minister and FAR: We’re not backing down, we aren’t going away and we will take this matter as far as it needs to go to get the correct resolution.

Craig kept shooters across NSW updated on social media and liaised constantly with the other Coalition of NSW Shooting Groups members, helping ensure we were all on the same page with accurate information and fighting effectively for every law-abiding firearms user in NSW.

Backing us up were the countless Shooters Union members and shooters who bombarded their MP and the NSW Police Minister with e-mails, letters and phone calls demanding the ban be reversed immediately – we know these made a difference.

This multi-pronged approach, with the other NSW shooting group coalition members working tirelessly from their end, has led to this measurable win for NSW shooters.

Of course, the ban should never have happened in the first place, and we’re committed to making sure it doesn’t happen again.

NSW’s Appearance Laws are in our sights and you’ll be hearing more from us on this important matter soon – after all, if the antis won’t rest, neither will we.

Shooters Union NSW appoints State Co-ordinator

SHOOTERS Union is stepping up its presence in New South Wales with the appointment of Craig Golding as our state co-ordinator.

An experienced and passionate shooter with decades of experience in the industry, Craig will be focussing on legislative change and fighting for a fair go for the hundreds of thousands of law-abiding firearms in the First State, while current state president Peter Whelan will focus on managing the successful SUNS shooting club which acts as a Genuine Reason for members to obtain a firearms licence in NSW.

Craig has been involved in the firearms industry for more than three decades, after first going hunting aged 12 with his father – which sparked a life-long passion that continues to this day, with his wife and three children also being avid hunters and shooters.

He has also worked with several shooting, hunting and fishing brands, including being the NSW sales agent for Alcock & Pierce (the country’s longest surviving guns and archery importer), the Australian and New Zealand sales manager for Shakespeare fishing tackle as well as founding the successful Field & Stream Australia store in Bowral, which he ran until June this year.

“I am passionate about hunting & shooting and as a result I spend an enormous amount of personal time introducing others to the sport as a Firearms Safety Awareness Training Officer and NSW DPI Leap Service Provider (hunter education),” he said.

“I am also a strong supporter of the NSW Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.”

Craig is now bringing his experience to Shooters Union NSW and is committed to fighting against unjust firearms regulations and for a fair go for shooters.

Some of his goals include:

  • Working towards an ongoing firearms amnesty;
  • Abolition of the state’s draconian appearance laws;
  • Addressing the delays in firearms license renewals and the delays in the issuing of Permits to Acquire;
  • Working toward a united and cohesive group of NSW shooting organisations;
  • Continuing to introduce more and more people to the shooting sports by education and the development of local hunting/shooting clubs.

We are delighted to welcome Craig aboard as our NSW State Co-ordinator and look forward to being able to enhance our efforts to protect shooter’s interests in the state.

Craig can be reached via e-mail to: craig.golding@shootersunion.com.au

Submission to the Firearms & Weapons Legislation Amendment (Criminal Use)Bill 2020

Submitted by: SUNS Shooting Club Incorporated
PO Box 246
Glenorie, NSW 2157
10th August 2020
Email: nsw@shootersunionnsw.com.au
Phone: 0499 148 814

SUNS Shooting Club Inc. is an approved shooting club, having approvals in rifle, shotgun and handgun disciplines, plus collecting, as issued by NSW Police Firearms Registry.

Having approximately 700 members across NSW, many of our members are very concerned about the intent and implications of these new laws. The following is a list of concerns, submitted to this inquiry on behalf of our members:We have members across A, B, H and G categories, in accordance with our Club Approvals from Firearms Registry. That is, rifles, shotguns, handguns and collectors. Members shoot most disciplines, from air pistol targets, through clay targets to IPSC and metallic silhouette.

Many of our members also participate in hunting and vermin control, as SUNS Shooting Club has been granted Approved Hunting Organisation status, by NSW Department of Primary Industries, Game and Pest Management section.

Replacing a trigger assembly, in a shotgun, a spring in a pistol, or cylinder in a revolver or fitting a ‘scope to a hunting rifle, would be considered general maintenance of firearms and a normal part of enjoying their sport. Each of those tasks would not require the skills of a gunsmith, using readily available workshop or tool kit equipment.

Tools used, such as screwdrivers, pliers, a vice, precision (fine) files, plus oils and grease, would all be caught up in the descriptions of “objects, devices or substances” described in the Firearms and Weapons Legislation (1996) Amendment. All these items could be used to make a firearm, or modify a legal firearm, rendering it “illegal”.

Any SUNS Shooting Club member could be charged by police with having the “precursors to firearms manufacture”, simply for having tool, which any person could buy at their local hardware store.

“Grey areas” would occur, for example, when replacing the mainspring and seals in the process of restoring an old category A air rifle, such as a BSA Meteor Mk 5, as one of our members did during last winter. This involved making up a special slotted tube part, required to release the spring pressure, to remove the main spring retaining pin. That restoration also involved replacing worn trigger pivot pins, piston head and sealing rings with selective application of moly-grease. All items used could be readily obtained from Bunnings and Auto Barn! Even the exploded view of that air rifle, showing all parts, COULD be caught up in this amendment.

Another project planned by another member, is replacing the synthetic stock of a rifle with a wooden one, made with aged timber from a wild cherry tree. That would need woodworking machines, rasps and sanders, surface treatment oils and varnish.

No doubt many of our members could undertake such a project, or even more complex ones. They all have firearms licences and own registered firearms, so what real interest would the police have in such basic maintenance activities?

Our members who have G category (collectors) licences, would have detailed drawings of firearms, such as the Australian designed and built Owen Machine Gun. Collectors may not even have certain firearms in their collection, but may have manufacturing drawings, design notes and other historical records, on their computers, which could also be caught up in breaches of these amendments.

Furthermore, some of our members carry out the re-loading of ammunition, so perhaps gunpowder will be caught up in the “substances” definition.

The amendment contains words and descriptions, which may be so broadly interpreted, or have so many “grey areas” that it is likely to tie up licensed firearms owners for years in the Courts, as they endeavour to prove their innocence.

These amendments could open up a legal minefield and prove to be a goldmine for some in the legal profession, as licensed and law abiding firearms owners attempt to defend any charges.

How would they prove that they were not “knowingly” manufacturing a firearm?

Police are all too prepared to test the “grey areas” in any legislation, as we saw when the 1996 laws came in, relating to safe storage, transport of firearms, approved shooting grounds etc. Proof of that is in the fact that this proposed amendment to the Firearms Act (1996) will be the 46th!

Note also that the Weapons Prohibitions Act (1998) is now in its 127th amendment! More recently (Regina v Towner February 2020) police had already inspected the Armoured Heaven shop in Penrith, after reports of “guns being sold” there. Police took some photographs and told owner Brad Towner “no problems, these are toys”.

Some months later a different group of Police swooped on his shop and seized his stock of Gel Blasters and Cosplay toy guns. It was only some months later that he was served with a long list of “Firearms Charges” which made to appear that he had been supplying illegal weapons and ammunition to bikie gangs.

After two years and many delays, while the Department of Public Prosecutions sought “expert advice” including ballistics testing, a jury found Brad Towner not guilty on ALL charges.

One can clearly predict similar charges being laid against our members, which would see that member have his or her guns seized, firearms licence suspended and face lengthy and expensive court appearances, only to be ultimately found “not guilty”.

It has been well publicised that a majority of police officers have only a general knowledge of the Firearms Act 1996 (now in its 46th amendment!) or of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 (amendment no 127!).

Many police officers would not have a detailed knowledge of firearms manufacture, so may be unable to discern whether a drilled piece of metal was destined to be a firearm receiver, or a part for a model car.

Many items and objects initially considered “firearms” or “prohibited weapons”, such as bait throwers and promotional compressed air Tee shirt blowers, were deleted from later revisions of the Acts. It would be expected that in future, we will see further amendments to these Acts, caused by poorly worded laws.

Recommendations.
On behalf of our members, we strongly request that these amendments be voted down. We also suggest that, should such amendments proceed, that a clause be included to exempt Licensed Firearms Owners and Shooting Club members, from prosecution.

We do not wish our members to face having their firearms seized and to pay for lawyers to defend them in Court, after a junior police officer decides that a metal tube or hacksaw, or drills in their range bag, or on their workbench, are “precursors to firearms manufacture”.

Submitted by the Administrative Committee of SUNS Shooting Club Incorporated
PO Box 246
Glenorie
NSW 2157
Email: nsw@shootersunion.com.au
Phone: 0499 148 814

NSW Firearms Registry Mailing Address Change

An update for our members and friends in NSW:

We are advised that as part of a programme to centralise the NSW Police’s incoming mail, anything being posted to the Firearms Registry will now go via the police Document Transmission Centre in Parramatta.

Effective now, the state firearms registry has updated its mailing address to:
Firearms Registry
Locked Bag 5102
Parramatta
NSW 2124

Given the registry is still physically located in Murwillumbah – approximately 800km from Parramatta – it seems possible this will increase the time involved for mailed paperwork to get to the registry itself.

The NSW Police have said enquiries relating to the change of mailing address should be submitted via https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/online_services/firearms/contact_us

Game licence no longer needed for deer hunting on private property in NSW

Great news for anyone who hunts in NSW – we are officially advised by the state’s Department of Primary Industries that from Friday, September 6, a game licence is no longer required for hunting wild deer on private property, as part of efforts to help landowners struggling with
drought and over-abundant feral deer numbers.

According to the info we have received, from September 6 2019:

  • A NSW Game Hunting Licence is no longer required to hunt wild deer on private land
  • You still require permission from the landholder and a firearms licence (if hunting with firearms) to hunt wild deer and other species on private land.
  • You still require an R-Licence and written permission to hunt wild deer and other approved species on public land in NSW
  • Affected G-Licence holders are eligible for a free upgrade to either a G-Licence endorsed for native game birds or an R-Licence (subject to meeting training requirements). Pro-rata refunds on G-licences are also available.

For more information, contact the Game Licensing Unit’s customer service team on (02) 6363 7650 during business hours (Mon – Fri 8.30am – 4.30pm) for more information or to discuss your options.