NSW Firearms Registry silencer changes

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Simon Munslow answers your questions on firearms law.
Simon Munslow answers your questions on firearms law.

I gather NSW Police have changed their policy towards sound moderators, and they can now be obtained by sporting shooters. Is this going to be worth my while?

Firstly, there has been no change of policy at all; all that has occurred is that the Shooters and Fishers Party noticed an inconsistency between the appropriate form of application and the legislation.

There has never been anything to stop anyone, including sporting shooters, from applying for a permit for a silencer in NSW. It remains to see whether the increase in applications that will inevitably flow from a change in form will lead to a change in approach by the Registry.

Whether it is worth your while applying is a question for you, because I do not know your particular circumstances.

Before one gets too excited, you will need to justify to Police why you need a sound moderator, and here a letter shall be required from a property owner or club. It is likely that conditions shall restrict the moderator’s use to that property or range. A report from an ear, nose and throat specialist on the state of your hearing may also be of use.

The threshold is clear from Police silencer fact sheet, that you shall need to demonstrate that your recreational or sporting activity requires possession of a silencer.

I have previously negotiated conditions on behalf of a commercial kangaroo culler, who had permission to use a silencer on a variety of properties, but he has to notify Police about which property it is to be used on prior to doing so, so expect strict conditions to be applied to it regarding the ‘how, where and when’ of use.

Your Storage requirements shall also increase to level two. See S32C of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998. This requirement is for a locked steel safe approved by the Commissioner and that cannot be easily penetrated. If the moderator is attached to the firearm, level three requirements shall be required, which include bars on windows. For a full list of requirements, visit the NSW Firearms Registry website.

Additionally, you will need to have two forms of licence; a prohibited weapons permit for the firearm that the moderator is fitted to, and a permit for the prohibited article, because when the moderator is fitted to your firearm, the whole firearm becomes a prohibited firearm.

I understand that the Shooters and Fishers Party are currently working hard undertaking research into the sound moderator issue with view to undertaking further lobbying.

One other thing, if you do want to apply for a sound moderator you are going to need to ensure that all bases are covered on your application, and it may be worthwhile considering professional help. I also expect that there shall be considerable processing delays in dealing with applications, and that this shall be a fruitful area of appeal over coming months.

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