Range/Branch Matters – February 2023

Range Officers

When you get down to the nuts and bolts of a club’s everyday operations, there are few roles as important as a confident, knowledgeable, and diligent Range Officer. Your Branch Committee leads the club, of course, but Range Officers provide important leadership for shooters on the range.

The current SSAA NSW Range Officer Information Booklet is clear on the matter: “Range Officers have the vital role of ensuring the safety of all users of the Range, while at the same time ensuring that all the Range Approval conditions are being met. Without Range Officers, we wouldn’t be able to open our Ranges. They are essential to the sport.”

It goes on: “The Range Officer has total control over range activities …”

Think about that. What a massive responsibility, and what a great opportunity to take your sports shooting to the next level. Qualified Range Officers develop deep knowledge of range protocols and procedures, good people skills, and a sense of pride and achievement in leading the daily operations of a safe shooting range.

Our booklet is a handy read. It covers nearly everything your branch needs to know, from the Range Officers Code of Conduct & Ethics to the full range of procedures for opening and operating your range.

But things change, laws are amended, and the way we do things evolve. In that context, Branch Committees know better than anyone how challenging it can be to convert policy into good practice.

So, how can the SSAA NSW continue to support people to step-up and become qualified in this vital role?

Rest assured, more opportunities to undertake Range Officer training is on the agenda. SSAA NSW wants volunteer Range Officers to have the training, capacity, and status to match their considerable responsibilities.

To that end, I intend to lead a review of the current SSAA NSW Range Officer policy, procedures, and related training courses, with a focus on maintaining the highest levels of safety for all members. We cannot do this alone and from ‘above’. SSAA NSW will need a working party of likeminded, credentialed members from the branches and membership to assist in this project. I will be seeking your expressions of interest.

On all matters, engagement with and input from the branches is essential.

I recently attended a committee meeting at a branch in a regional town to provide advice on the governance of branch meetings. This very positive meeting led to improvements in the administrative processes (meeting notices, agendas, minutes etc) and has helped the club to get on top of the fundamentals. If your branch is on top of the fundamentals, you can focus on the fun bit: sports shooting.

I’m keen to continue getting out to the branches and working with you on whatever it is you need. On behalf of SSAA NSW, do not hesitate to contact me for assistance.

I will be reaching out to support your branch in readiness for the scheduled NSW Firearms Registry Branch/Range Inspections.

Thanks to those who wrote to me, congratulating and welcoming me to my new role in the SSAA NSW.

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