There has been some recent confusion with regards to hunters sighting in at ranges. Some hunters have been advised that if their licence states hunting only, they are prohibited from accessing a range. As confirmed with NSW Firearms Registry, this is not the case. There may be some instances, however, where an individual directs a legal firearms owner with incorrect information.
For the benefit of members, SSAA NSW sought written clarification from the NSW Firearms Registry for members to rely upon in the event they are provided with incorrect information. SSAA NSW has received the following response:
“Recreational hunters may conduct a sight alignment (iron sight/optical sight) and ammunition load development on NSW Shooting Range facilities, if the calibre of the firearms does not exceed the authorised ammunition on the range approval.”
The relevant section of the Firearms Regulations 2017 is Reg 33 which states that licences and permits extend to authorise sighting in, patterning and related activities. Please see the full wording of the regulation below:
FIREARMS REGULATION 2017 – REG 33
Licences and permits extend to authorise sighting in, patterning and related activities
33 Licences and permits extend to authorise sighting in, patterning and related activities
(1) The authority conferred by a licence or permit that authorises the use of a firearm by a person extends to include the use of a firearm by the person for the purposes of any of the following activities–
(a) sighting in the firearm (including sight alignment and including patterning of a shotgun),
(b) tuning of the firearm (including the adjusting or aligning of a shotgun),
(c) familiarisation with or testing of ammunition,
(d) practising on stationary targets (or moving targets in the case of a shotgun) but only for the purposes of an activity referred to in paragraphs (a)-(c).
(2) This clause authorises the use of a firearm on any land on which use of the firearm is not otherwise unlawful and is not limited to use at an approved shooting range.
(3) This clause does not authorise–
(a) the use of a firearm to participate in shooting activities conducted by a shooting club at an approved shooting range except the specific activities referred to in subclause (1), or
(b) the use of a shooting range otherwise than in accordance with the approval of the shooting range, including any conditions subject to which the approval was granted.
(4) For the removal of doubt, this clause does not prevent a person who is the holder of a licence or permit from using a firearm at an approved shooting range pursuant to the exemption conferred by section 6B of the Act.
It is important to note that each individual range chooses what they permit within their approvals. While hunters may conduct certain activities on a range, we remind our members that they must check with their local range as to what calibre or activity is permissible on that particular range.
Please note that if a police officer directs you in a manner that is contrary to the regulation (and the information supplied by the NSW Firearms Registry), you should follow their advice at the time of the direction, as a law-abiding firearms owner.
There are different ways to resolve the matter if the regulation has been applied incorrectly. You may have the direction reviewed at your local police station through the Local Area Commander or seek clarification from the NSW Firearms Registry. If there are any issues, please do not hesitate to contact SSAA NSW and we will advocate on your behalf.
SSAA NSW values all facets of shooting, including hunters and target shooters, and we will continue to advocate for all members.
Lance Miller – President, SSAA NSW
Jai Rowell – CEO/Executive Director, SSAA NSW