The following information is provided as a summary for general information only. Please contact the helpful staff at the Firearms Registry on 1300 362 562 to obtain further detailed information, or alternatively contact the NSWRA for assistance.
For further information click here to link to the NSW Firearms Act 1996.
Joining a Club
- So you have decided that you would like to try target rifle shooting! Congratulations!
- The NSWRA can provide you with information on contact persons in your local area. An information kit can also be sent to you to provide further details about our sport and how to go about joining a club.
- It is recommended that once you have made contact with a club, that you visit the range to meet the club members and find out more about the sport and the club structure. Most clubs have safety training, coaching and equipment available free of charge and the only costs that you may be up for are range fees and ammunition.
- Some Clubs conduct 'Open Days' on a regular basis and because they have obtained a special "Commissioner's Permit" from the Firearms Registry, you may be able to try shooting immediately as a once off. Check with your local club.
- Otherwise, before you can commence shooting, you must fill in a form to apply for a "Temporary Exemption" as a new club member, which is valid for a period of up to 3 months. These forms are available from the Club Captain or Secretary, who are responsible for witnessing your proof of identity (a driver's licence is adequate). You must also be sure that you understand the questions on the form and complete them fully and honestly. The club will submit the form to the Firearms Registry. Provided that there are no issues with the Police Service checks, approval may be granted within a week. It is important that you are sure that you wish to proceed to the next step of applying for your formal licence, as the Firearms Registry do not usually issue further temporary exemptions.
- During the three month period, you are permitted to shoot under the supervision of a licensee in the club who holds a licence for a similar category of firearm. You are also required to undertake and pass a safety training course in order to obtain a Firearms Safety Awareness Certificate. Your club or the NSWRA can assist you in finding out more information about this course.
- Applicants for an individual Firearms Licence must also have a "Genuine Reason" for obtaining such a licence. The genuine reason of Sport/Target Shooting must be accompanied by proof of current membership of an approved Target Shooting club. Following acceptance of your formal club membership application and payment of your annual fee, the club will provide a letter to you addressed to the Firearms Registry that confirms your membership details. Send this letter to the Firearms Registry together with your Firearms Safety Awareness Certificate, completed Individual Firearms Licence application form and the processing fee.
- Club membership automatically also provides for membership of the New South Wales Rifle Association. Payment of an additional fee entitles you to affiliate to the National Rifle Association (NRAA) and this enables you to compete in State and National teams if selected. Subscription is also available to our national magazine, the 'Australian Target Rifle'. See Membership for further details of the benefits of membership and the range of fees.
- Target shooting competitions and practices are carried out on ranges approved by the Firearms Registry Range Officer and in accordance with the Standard Shooting Rules ('SSRs') for Australian Rifle Clubs. The SSRs are produced by our NRAA and assure consistency of rules and procedures throughout Australia in our type of target sport.
Firearms Licensing Requirements
- The New South Wales Firearms Act 1996 sets out a comprehensive table detailing the "Genuine reasons for having a license". Included are the following:
- Sport/target shooting
- Recreational hunting/vermin control
- Primary production
- Vertebrate pest animal control
- Business or employment
- Occupational requirements relating to rural purposes
- Animal welfare
- Firearms collection
- Under the conditions laid down in the table, a licence applicant whose genuine reason is sport or target shooting must be a current member of an approved target shooting club. Each of these clubs must be affiliated with one of the shooting associations (such as the NSWRA Inc) listed under the Regulations. All NSWRA affiliated clubs are approved as Target Clubs, including those participating in service rifle.
- Anyone seeking to register a firearm for recreational hunting or vermin control, must be a member of an approved hunting club, or provide proof that they have the permission of an owner or occupier of land (or the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department of Land and Water Conservation, the Forestry Commission or other authority prescribed in the Regulations). Many NSWRA affiliated clubs are also approved as Hunting Clubs.
- Anyone seeking a Collectors licence must be a member of collectors club or society. Many NSWRA affiliated clubs are also approved as Collectors Clubs.
- A 28 day waiting period applies to the issuing of all licenses/permits.
- The NSWRA does not represent pistol or shotgun sports, although individual Clubs may participate in such activities through dual affiliation to other approved shooting associations.
- Members of target shooting clubs are required to participate a minimum of four times per year. Hunting club members must participate at least twice per year. Collectors must attend at least one meeting every 12 months.
Relevant Firearms Licence Categories
- Our members are encouraged to apply for a licence in both Category 'A' and Category 'B' in order to permit participation in all target sports represented by the NSWRA.
- Under the Regulations and also under our Standard Shooting Rules for Australian Rifle Clubs, participation is permitted for holders of a licence in the following categories:
- Category A
- Air rifles
- Rimfire rifles (other than self loading)
- [also covers Shotguns (other than pump action or self loading)]
- [also covers Shotgun / rim fire rifle combinations]
- Category B
- Muzzle loading firearms (other than pistols)
- Centre fire rifles (other than self loading)
- [also covers Shotgun / centre fire rifle combinations]
- Category C and D relate to self loading rifles and shotguns that are not allowed by the NSWRA in our competitions or practices. Category H relates to pistols and revolvers that are also not allowed by the NSWRA in our competitions or practices.
Using and Acquiring a Rifle
- Once you have obtained your licence, you are able to use the Club rifles or the rifles of other licence holders of the same category of approval as yourself. When you decide that you wish to become more competitively serious about the target sport that you have chosen, you might decide that it is time to purchase your own rifle through an Aproved Firearms Dealer.
- When shopping around to find a rifle that suits your budget, also seek the advice of experienced Club members who can guide you as to the most appropriate rifle for your needs. Storage of your new firearm must also be addressed at this point, and you may have to also purchase an 'approved' storage container or make arrangements for storage in an approved container such as the gun safe at your club. See section 5 below for further details.
- Once you have decided on a rifle, the next step is to apply to the Firearms Registry for a "Permit to Acquire". Forms are available from the Registry. Once again a 'cooling off' period applies following lodgement of the application, but once you have received approval, you are able to complete the transaction. If you are intending to purchase a rifle from an existing Club member, the NSWRA is an Approved Firearms Dealer and can also assist you in following the correct process.
- The Firearms Act requires that a person who possesses a firearm shall take all reasonable precautions to ensure - "its safe keeping, and that it is not stolen or lost and that it does not come into the possession of a person who is not authorised to possess the firearm."
- Under the Act, category A and B firearms must be stored in a locked receptacle of a type approved by the Commissioner. If the receptacle weighs less than 150kg when empty it must be fixed in position in order to prevent its easy removal. All ammunition must be stored in a separate locked container approved by the Commissioner.
- The Commissioner recommends that the bolt or firing mechanism be removed or be fitted with a restraining device such as a trigger lock (it is a requirement of our SSRs that bolts must be REMOVED AT ALL TIMES except when on the firing mound and about to fire). When travelling, firearms must be carried in a locked container secured to the vehicle (locking in a car boot has been deemed adequate).
Moving From Interstate
- The Act provides for temporary recognition of interstate licences for the purposes of participating - "in a shooting competition approved by the Commissioner (or for such other purposes as may be prescribed by the regulations. This includes hunting where one has written permission)." The licensee must hold a corresponding licence in their home state for the particular category of firearm - A,B or H. Licence holders who move to NSW permanently must notify the Commissioner in writing of their intention. In which case their out-of-state licence for category A and B firearms is valid for a period of three months.
- There are many junior shooters who are members of the NSWRA. A 'Minor's firearm training permit' may be applied for by an applicant who is at least 12 years of age and demonstrate that they have the written permission of a parent or guardian. They must have also received safety instruction and obtained a Firearms Safety Awareness Certificate. A 'Minor's firearm training permit' authorises the holder to use a firearm of a specific category when receiving safety training under the supervision of a licensee who holds a permit for a similar category. Minor's permits expire three months after the holder's 18th birthday, at which time they must apply for a full firearms licence.