Posted by: Wayne Robinson | July 6, 2010

NSW Legislation Changes

Our lords and masters in Macquarie Street have been a busy bunch over the past few months, passing numerous acts that have a direct impact on us. Many of these changes are the outcomes of different review processes that have been happening over a number of years, for example the Weapons Prohibition Act review started in 2003 . Allusions to things happening in a great rush at the end are too obvious, so other than this remark, I’ll avoid making them.

Interstate members please note that these changes are only in force in NSW, although the change to the Firearms Regulation 2006 does recognise your license in NSW when you are operating under a NSW historical re-enactment (firearms) permit. If you like anything you see below, let ALHF know and contact your local state member with the information.

I’ll start with quick summary of the changes that directly affect us and then go into more detail in another section further down that people can ignore when their eyes glaze over. The first mention of a piece of legislation in the detail section below will also link to the in-force version on the state government’s legislation website so you can check the details and currency for yourself. 

It’s worth noting the re-enactment clauses in the Weapons and Firearms Legislation Amendment Act are the direct outcome of the consultation process ALHF was involved in some time ago. Some of the clauses of the look suspiciously similar to the way the ALHF submission was worded. Your membership in action.

The changes to the Firearms Regulation (NSW) 2006 is already in force, interstate firearms licenses are now recognised under the Firearms Re-enactment Permit parts of the Firearms Act (NSW) 1996. This means interstate people can play legally with us as long as they are licensed in their own state. 

From 1 July 2010, a new Associations Incorporation Act (NSW) 2009 and changes to the regs simplify the annual report process, allows for an AGM to be held at a number of venues concurrently when linked by some sort of technology that enables everyone to participate and, includes a requirement that all documents must be handed over to a new committee member within 14 days of the old member ceasing office. It has also formalised the requirement for committee members to disclose any potential conflicts of interest to the committee. Saving clauses mean that anything that complied with the old legislation will comply with the new law up to the point where the association makes a change to their constitution. At that point, they have to ensure compliance with the new law. There’s a good summary at the Department of Fair Trading Associations and Co-operatives website.

The Weapons and Firearms Legislation Amendment Act (NSW) 2010 comes into force shortly. It amends the Weapons Prohibition Act (NSW) 1998 No 127 and Firearms Act (NSW) 1996 No 46 along with some incidental house keeping changes to other instruments, including firearms use clauses of the Parramatta Park Trust Regulation 2007. Most importantly, it makes historical re-enactment a reasonable excuse to obtain a prohibited weapons permit. 

You can stop reading now if you like. 


Changes to the Weapons Prohibition Act
The weapons prohibition section of the act introduces a new category of prohibited weapon, that of military-style weapon. The classification only applies to a device intended for use by a military or defence force that launches a bomb, grenade, rocket, missile or mine or other similar device. Consistent with the Firearms Act, possession of any part or projectile counts as possession of the main weapon. Permits would be available for these military-style weapons, with high security and storage requirements. Penalties for owning, using or selling without permits will be high and will be a criminal matter, rather than the civil matter other prohibited weapons offences are treated as. 

The specification “intended for use by a military or defence force” neatly avoids the problem we have had with the Firearms Act in the past, where reproductions of seventeenth and eighteenth century firearms that were used by a military force were treated as category A firearms along with modern military weapons. 

Section 11 is my favourite, I’ll reproduce it in its entirety: 

Section 11 Genuine reason
Insert after the matter relating to the genuine reason of recreational/sporting purposes in the Table to section 11 (2):
Reason: historical re-enactment purposes
The applicant must be a current member of a historic or commemorative club or society approved by the Commissioner in accordance with the regulations and which conducts activities or events requiring the possession or use of the prohibited weapon for which the permit is sought. 

The Section 11 change potentially establishes the mechanism for commissioner to establish a list of, or set of criteria for approved historic or commemorative clubs for the purpose of obtaining Prohibited Weapons permits for re-enactment. The list does not yet exist, ALHF are planning to make a submission to be included on any list in a similar manner to the Commissioner’s list in Victoria. It would be nice if we can use this as a precedent to get the Firearms Act modified in the same way to include historical re-enactment as a genuine reason for a firearms license. 

A new part, Safe keeping of prohibited weapons, has been added with a three level structure consistent with the Firearms Act. Normal prohibited weapons will require level 1 and 2 storage, military-style weapons will require level 3. 

Theatrical Armourers and Weapons merchants will be required to keep complete records of all prohibited weapons sales, in a similar manner to that now in force in Victoria. 

There are some minor changes to the schedule of prohibited weapons, mostly based on the introduction of some common sense. A savings clause has been added to most weapons, excluding an object that is substantially similar but produced and identified as a children’s toy. Tasers have been added, imitation firearms removed because they will be covered by the Firearms Act. Theatrical handcuffs that can be released by the wearer are now excluded from the definition of handcuff. An SCA favourite, the air-powered PVC cannon has been added to the list of prohibited weapons as well. An amendment by the Shooters Party to remove PVC Canon from the list of prohibited weapons was defeated in Parliament. 


Changes to the Firearms Act
In the Firearms section, imitation firearm is clarified as being an object that, regardless of its colour, weight or composition or the presence or absence of any moveable parts, substantially duplicates in appearance a firearm but that is not a firearm. Imitation firearms will have their own set of permits. The same child’s toy exclusion applies, although an imitation pistol is still regarded as a pistol and an imitation prohibited firearm is still a prohibited firearm. 

An antique firearm is defined and one made before 1900, with the same commercially available ammunition requirements as before. A functioning copy of an antique firearm is a replica firearm and is treated the same as modern firearms, regardless of the availability of commercial ammunition. The corresponding clauses of the Firearms Regulation 2006 are repealed, moving control of antiques to the main act from the reg. 

Schedule 1, Prohibited firearms, clause 17, “Any imitation or replica of any firearm (including any imitation or replica pistol, blank fire pistol, shortened firearm, machine gun or sub-machine gun) unless it is of a type approved by the Commissioner.” has been revoked, reproductions are to be treated as the original weapon would be. 


Other legislative changes
General housekeeping about use and keeping of license photographs by various departments and adding “or imitation firearm” after the word “firearm” in various acts. There will be a presumption against bail in offences involving military-style weapons. 

The Parramatta Park Trust Regulation 2007, will require anyone wanting to use an imitation firearm in Parramatta Park to have written permission from the Trust director. This requirement already exists for firearms and prohibited weapons. A similar change is proposed for the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009, with consent coming from the park authority. Similar changes are also there for the Sydney Olympic Park Authority Regulation 2007, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Regulation 2006 and the Wellington Showground By-Law 1987

The change for the Crown Lands Regulation 2006 is again similar, with exemptions to be on application to the office of Crown Lands NSW accompanied by a fee (clause 38). 


Changes to the Firearms Regulation (NSW) 2006 
A new sub-clause 61 (2A) provides recognition of interstate firearms licenses. 

61 Permit for non-prohibited firearms used in historical re-enactments
(cf 1997 cl 54)
 

(1) The Commissioner may, on application by a person who is the secretary (or other relevant office holder if there is no secretary) of a historical re-enactment organisation, issue a permit authorising the organisation to organise and conduct historical re-enactment events involving firearms. Any such permit is referred to in this clause as a historical re-enactment organiser’s
permit. 

(2) A historical re-enactment organiser’s permit also authorises any person who is the holder of a licence to use any firearm:
(a) that is not a prohibited firearm, and
(b) that the person is authorised to possess or use under a licence, for the purposes of participating in any historical re-enactment event conducted under the authority of a historical re-enactment organiser’s permit

(2A) A reference in subclause (2) to a licence includes a reference to a licence that:
(a) is issued under the law in force in another State or Territory authorising the possession and use of a firearm, and
(b) is the equivalent of a licence issued under the Act. 

I’d like to see ALHF push this as a model for other states to implement.


All up, a well-intentioned set of changes that in many ways will make life better for us. There has been a couple of compromises, particularly around replica firearms; we had hoped to have them treated the same way as the antique they copy. The outcome is better than I had hoped at the start of the process, when the opening shot by the government was the proposal for a complete ban on swords and other weapons.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. TO ME THERE IS SOME CONTRADICTORY INFO HERE.
    An antique firearm is defined and one made before 1900, with the same commercially available ammunition requirements as before. A functioning copy of an antique firearm is a replica firearm and is treated the same as modern firearms, regardless of the availability of commercial ammunition. The corresponding clauses of the Firearms Regulation 2006 are repealed, moving control of antiques to the main act from the reg.
    Schedule 1, Prohibited firearms, clause 17, “Any imitation or replica of any firearm (including any imitation or replica pistol, blank fire pistol, shortened firearm, machine gun or sub-machine gun) unless it is of a type approved by the Commissioner.” has been revoked, reproductions are to be treated as the original weapon would be.
    ________________________________________
    So is a flintlock copy treated as a modern gun, or is it exempt because it is a repro?!
    This is not making sense to me.

    • Keith, that part of the post is poorly worded. A working flintlock musket made after 1900 is a firearm and if made before 1900 is an antique. A non-working prop that looks like a flintlock musket is an “immitation firearm”. These used to be prohibited weapons but are now covered by the Firearms legislation and are treated to the same conditions on date of manufacture. If after 1900, it is an “imitation firearm”, if before, the object is an antique.

      Wayne

  2. Hurrah for Wayne, well done that man!!
    A great result for ALHF and all it’s minions…

  3. The Weapons and Firearms Legislation Amendment Act 2010 No 40 was proclaimed on 7 July with a commencement date of 9 July 2010, so the clauses discussed above from that act are now law. The provlamation is at http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/sessionalview/sessional/sr/2010-351.pdf

  4. Just when you thought it was done and dusted, an accompanying Weapons Prohibition Amendment Regulation 2010 has just been made. Amongst other things, it sets out the process to become an “approved group”.
    Minimum size is 10, there is discretion for approval for groups as small as 5 if the the group otherwise meets the criteria. All members must be listed on the application, not just those who seek Prohibited Weapons permits.

    Being an “approved” club adds a condition that it becomes an offence to move residence and not advise the secretary of the group within 14 days.

    Wayne

  5. I want to make a reproduction brown bess ,my intention is to weld bars across the barrel interior to prevent it from being loaded,the flintlock mechanism will work.When finished i want to hang it on a wall in my house.My question is ,with regards to storage as well,is this legal? looking forward to your answer thanks.Terry

    • I’ll leave this comment for any musketeers or reverends who think they may know the answer, but ultimately you are going to have to deal with your local licencing sergeant I suspect. Even if perfectly fine and word gets back to him enough that he thinks he needs to come look it’s best he knows from the outset what he is looking at. This is of course all IMHO and will probably not stand up in court 😉 Anyone else have thoughts?

  6. Hi Terry, you’ll need to speak to the local licensing Sergeant at the nearest police station before you start and I think you’ll need a few conversations with the firearms registry as well. I’m not sure about the storage requirements, but deactivated like that means you’ll have to have a collector’s permit. You may also be required to fill the touch hole with weld or solder to make the ignition mechanism deactivated as well. The NSW Police firearms website is at http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/services/firearms.
    Wayne


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: