Range/Branch Matters – December 2023

Earlier this year SSAA NSW met with NSWFR where we discussed several topics including if there was a consideration of removing any further requirement, in having matches (events) listed on shooting range approvals (SRA).

The conversation focussed on what advantages to public safety were being served by New South Wales Firearms Registry (NSWFR) stipulating, that each individual match which was required to be recognised by NSWFR then added to an SRA prior to it being shot at the range.

SSAA NSW concerns relating to this requirement were that the process of adding and or removing matches was time-consuming and unnecessarily added extra workload to NSWFR staff.

Adding to SSAA NSW concerns it was raised that the process of making an amendment to the SRA involved having to send a request to NSWFR, and await a response seeking approval, not before then having to further wait for the updated SRA to be sent to a Branch, which at times based on other NSWFR priorities took time and impacted on the ability for members to shoot matches which SSAA NSW deemed to be safe.

To support SSAA NSW’s view, the following was offered.

*When the NSWFR defines a range, it does so by determining the size of the land, topography other factors such as, are their neighbouring properties, etc. Once this has been established the range is then classified, which is itemised on the SRA as the No Danger Area etc.

*From this point the NSWFR Range Compliance Officer then determines what ammunition can be used on the range, which again is stipulated on the SRA as approved ammunition.

It was further suggested that once this process was completed by the range compliance officer, in that they had determined what was the type of range (range danger area employed) and what ammunition is to be used (approved ammunition), this information met the threshold of range safety which could then be applied by SSAA NSW Branches across the state, who could review match rules and determine what matches could be shot on the range safely.

After some deliberation, NSWFR agreed to remove matches which has led to a redesign of the Shooting Range Approval, which no longer defines what matches can be shot and has permitted Branches (Range Approval Holder) to consider whether they would like to introduce other approved matches to the range.

Whilst I am very pleased with this outcome for this to occur, the Branch Committee (Range Approval Holder) must ensure that all matches being shot at the range have been sanctioned by SSAA NSW.

To complement this agreed position with the regulator the SSAA NSW Board of Directors has agreed to endorse a process that permits a consideration, that allows for side matches to be introduced. This process involves the relevant state Discipline Chair, state Discipline Coordinator, and the state Firearms Regulatory & Compliance Manager who sit and review the match rules and course of fire being proposed. Once this process has been undertaken and if the match is approved, this then allows for the match to be shot at an SSAA NSW range that is consistent with SSAA NSW’s commitment to our members and public safety.

Regards Peter Szaak NSW Firearms Regulatory & Compliance Manager See you on the range.

As always, if you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at peter@nsw.ssaa.org.au

See you on the range.

Pete Szaak JP
Firearms Regulatory and Compliance Manager