• Firearms Lawyer Simon Munslow answers your legal questions.
    Firearms Lawyer Simon Munslow answers your legal questions.
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I have received a number of calls lately from people experiencing difficulties with obtaining Category D firearms, with the NSW Registry seeking to add a condition requiring that a primary producer holding one have made a vermin destruction plan with his neighbours.

The source of this condition is a recommendation from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, who it seems have also been giving the registry advice on sound moderators.

This creates major difficulties for the primary producer.  Farmers are independent small businesspeople, and a bush fire is about the only thing in Australia that will galvanise a farming community into dropping everything and co-operating with their neighbours.  Indeed, suggest to four farmers that they jointly seek to work on a pest problem on a certain date, and you will inevitably get five or more excuses.

In these days of absentee farm ownership, many farmers also simply do not know who their neighbours are, and the Pastures Protection people cannot help them find out because they are bound by privacy laws.

My suggestion is, if they try to impose such a condition on you, try and comply, and if it is unworkable, appeal the decision or seek the removal of the condition. 

The other area relates to sound moderators.  Apparently Parks and Wildlife have advised the Registry that sound moderators are of no benefit to hunters, which to me is curious, since they hold a large number of permits for these devices themselves! Although, I am sure that the real reason Parks and Wildlife use them, is to avoid the concussive effect of gun fire upon the ears of shooters and observers.

In other words, the NSW Government is happy for your ears to be buggered up, but not those of its public servants, because that will cost them!

In my opinion the area where sound moderators have the greatest strength is in reduction of hearing damage.  The 30% reduction in noise that a moderator can achieve drops a firearm’s discharge from a noise level where it can cause damage to hearing to a level where temporary exposure can be experienced before damage takes place.

I note that the UK Police Force revised their policy on moderators and allowed them, after threats of Court action. 

Given the presence of a number of hungry, class action orientated law firms in Australia, local Police forces would be wise to consider whether there is a real reason why these should not be legalised, other than movie-based speculation, because unlike such speculation, the risk of large damage awards to people with hearing damage following exposure to gun fire is very real.

If any of the boys in blue are monitoring this blog - and I note some do - please take notice of this, and pass it up the line for, as a tax payer, I resent poor decision making that reduces public liabilitpa, rticularly when the decision making is based on false paradigms that largely derive from Hollywood.

I ask that they look closely at the countries and states that now permit the use of sound moderators for hunting and look at whether it has any impact on crime.  I think they will find that it does not.

I note that while Police have not done their homework properly in respect to this issue, nor have many people applying for permits for moderators.

I find that the chambering that a shooter seeks to use is often not efficient for hunting the intended target with a moderator, or may break existing guidelines. 

For example, put a moderator on a 224-calibre centrefire and feed it reduced loads with view to hunting kangaroos with it, and you would be violating the Code of Conduct. Paragraph 2.3 providing that ammunition must be as powerful as commercial loadings and that subsonic ammunition must not be used.

If you want to apply for a moderator give the decision some serious thought, research options, and get yourself some competent advice.

This blog is prepared as general information only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem it is important that you get advice that particularly addresses the issues in your matter.

Simon Munslow is a solicitor who practices Firearms Law in all Australian Jurisdictions. He is a life long hunter, and has over thirty years experience as a legal practitioner.  His passion and knowledge of firearms is often what achieves an excellent result for the shooter.

He can be contacted on:  P:  (02) 6299 9690   F: (02) 6299 9836 e: solicitor@bigpond.com

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