Frequently Asked Questions on the P650 Process

Use of an Approved Range by Unlicensed Persons

Overview

From 1 October, 2008, a person may possess and use firearms on an approved range without the authority of a licence or permit (or other exemption) when they wish to try out the sport of shooting or when they are participating in an approved firearms safety training course, provided that they:

  • Remain under the direct supervision of a club/range official (or licence holder appointed by them) or firearms instructor, and
  • Have completed a declaration form P650 and responded 'No' to all questions in the personal history in Section B of the form.

 

 

What is a P650 Declaration form?

A P650 'Declaration - Person shooting on an Approved Range or undertaking a Firearms Safety Training Course' is the form which must be completed prior to an unlicensed person shooting on a range or undertaking firearms safety training - section 6B of the Firearms Act 1996. The form asks a series of questions required by legislation - clause 110 of the Firearms Regulation 2006.

If a person wishes to participate in both activities as prescribed by section 6B (1)(a) and section 6B (1)(b) of the Firearms Act 1996, then two (2) declarations are required to be completed.

Where are the P650 forms available?

From approved Firearms Instructors, your local Firearms Club, on the Clubs Internet page or by clicking on the following link:

What is direct supervision?

Direct supervision must not exceed a ratio of one unlicensed person to one licensed supervisor.

The licensed supervisor must be present at the firing line and not leave whilst shooting activities are being undertaken by the unlicensed person.

The licensed supervisor must be able to immediately render assistance to the unlicensed person, if required.

The licensed supervisor must personally convey the firearm and ammunition to be used by the unlicensed person from its place of storage to the firing line.

The licensed supervisor must personally convey the firearm and ammunition from the firing line to the place of storage upon the conclusion of shooting activities.

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Who is authorised to directly supervise unlicensed persons on the range?

A person who is the holder of a licence to possess or use a firearm of the kind being used by the unlicensed person may directly supervise the unlicensed person. The supervising person must be authorised by a club or range official.

Can an interstate person directly supervise unlicensed persons on the range?

Yes, clause 109A of the Firearms Regulation 2006, extends the supervision of unlicensed persons using an approved range under section 6B of the Firearms Act 1996, to allow direct supervision by interstate licence holders.

Clause 25(1)(e) of the Firearms Regulation 2006, provides for an interstate resident who is the holder of the equivalent of a category A or B licence issued in their State or Territory, to supervise an unlicensed person who possesses and uses a firearm at an approved range in accordance with section 6B(1)(a) of the Firearms Act 1996.

Clause 25(2) of the Firearms Regulation 2006, provides for an interstate resident who is the holder of the equivalent of a category H licence issued in their State or Territory, to supervise an unlicensed person who possesses and uses a firearm at an approved range in accordance with section 6B(1)(a) of the Firearms Act 1996.

Does a person need to complete a new declaration every time they wish to try target shooting under direct supervision at an approved range?

No, the P650 form must be completed on the first occasion by an unlicensed person. Where the person seeks to attend the shooting range on more than one occasion, the club or range official can:

  • Maintain a register to record the name, address, date of birth and details of photo identification of the unlicensed person, and
  • The register must record that there has been no change to the circumstances of the person which would affect the responses provided on their initial P650 form.

If a firearms safety training course is run over several days, does a person participating in that course need to complete the P650 form each day?

No, the P650 form, once completed for the purpose of a firearms safety training course lasts for the duration of that course.

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What if a person responds 'Yes' to one of the questions in Section B - Personal History?

The person cannot shoot. A copy of the form would only be sent to the Firearms Registry for further determination if the person wishes to proceed to shoot or complete firearms safety training. NOTE: A copy only should be sent as the original must be kept by the club/range official or instructor.

If a copy of the P650 form is sent to the Firearms Registry for further determination and the person was approved, would the approval apply to only one shoot?

No, where a person is completing a firearms safety training course, the approval will be issued to cover possession and use of firearms for the duration of the course.

If the person wants to shoot at the approved range (other than for a safety training course) and an approval is issued to that person by the Firearms Registry, the person must take the approval to the club or range official in order to possess and use firearms on the range. If that person then wishes to return and shoot another time, they must supply their name, address, date of birth and details of photo identification and sign the register maintained by the club to declare that their circumstances have not changed since completing the P650 form and being issued with their approval

When the P650 form is completed, is it sent to the Firearms Registry?

No, the form must be returned to the club, range official or firearms instructor. The form must be kept for a minimum 2 year period by the club, range official or firearms instructor for their records. Forms are not sent to the Firearms Registry unless a person has responded 'Yes' to any of the personal history questions and they wish to proceed with shooting. In this case a copy only of the form is sent to the Firearms Registry by the club, range official or firearms instructor.

Does the P650 form apply to possession and use of longarms and pistols?

Yes, however it excludes prohibited firearms.

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Can a person participate in a club target shooting competition by completing a P650 form?

The club can make this decision under section 6B(1)(a) of the Firearms Act 1996, after assessment of the individual circumstances. Any unlicensed person must complete the P650 form and remain under direct supervision.

Can a licensed international resident try target shooting under section 6B(1)(a) of the Firearms Act 1996?

Yes, clause 110(7A) of the Firearms Regulation 2006, applies to overseas tourists. Overseas tourists may possess and use firearms on an approved range provided:

  • they successfully complete the P650 form, and
  • the date that they use the range is recorded, and
  • the name of the person who supervised the person is recorded.

A passport is the accepted photo identification for an overseas tourist.

What about interstate persons?

Interstate persons can try target shooting upon successful completion of the P650 form.

Does the parent/legal guardian need to sign the declaration form every time the minor undertakes target shooting under direct supervision?

No, the parent/legal guardian will need to sign a register maintained by the club confirming that there has been no change to the personal circumstances of the minor since the original declaration form was completed.

When will a minor not be required to have the parent/legal guardian sign the form every time?

Only when a minor is undertaking an approved firearms safety training course under direct supervision of an approved firearms safety training instructor. The P650 form covers the duration of the safety training course.

If I complete a P650 form to undertake a firearms safety (longarms) training course signed by an approved FST Instructor, does this also authorise me to shoot under supervision at an approved shooting range?

No, the P650 form you signed only authorises you to undertake the firearms safety training course. If you want to shoot under direct supervision of a licence holder at an approved range you need to complete a separate P650 Declaration form signed by an authorised club or range official.

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Will the parent/legal guardian have to sign a declaration form every week to enable a minor to participate in a school shooting program?

No, the P650 form is completed by a person and lasts for the duration of a firearms safety training course that is delivered by an approved FST Instructor. One form will suffice if the course is run over several weeks.

Can a Shooting Master at a GPS/boarding school holding guardianship sign as legal guardian for students in a school shooting program?

Yes, but only where the GPS/boarding school hold written consent from the parent as the legal guardian. The onus will rest with the school to prove they were authorised to act as a legal guardian and in turn make such decisions on behalf of the student.

Can a club stop unlicensed persons coming back multiple times, completing the P650 form and shooting with no intention of joining the club or applying for a firearms licence?

The club or range official determines who they approve to shoot on their range. Clause 132 of the Firearms Regulation 2006, provides for an offence of trespass where a person enters a shooting range without the approval of the owner/occupier of the range. The club/range is private property and they are at liberty to ask any person to leave the premises at any time. The club will need to administer this in accordance with their rules and the advice they receive from their peak firearms association and insurance provider.

Will the licence number of all persons using the range need to be recorded?

No, only those persons who do not have target shooting as their genuine reason will need to have their licence number recorded (such as recreational hunters and primary producers sighting in on the range).

If a person is undertaking a firearms safety training course and they have been issued with a written exemption approval to participate from the Firearms Registry, will they also need to complete a P650 form?

No, if a person has an approval issued by the Firearms Registry to complete a safety training course, they do not need to complete a P650 form. The approval is valid for the duration of the course even if the course is completed after 1 October 2008.

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Does a club/range official or an instructor have a right to refuse to allow a person to shoot on the range or participate in a safety training course if the person has responded 'No' to the questions on the P650 form, but the club/range official or instructor have concerns regarding the person possessing and using a firearm?

A club and range approval must be operated with proper regard to the preservation of public safety and the peace. Clause 89(2)(a) and clause 92(2)(b) of the Firearms Regulation 2006, provide grounds for revocation of a range or club approval if they are not operated with proper regard to public safety. The club/range is private property and they are at liberty to ask any person to leave the premises at any time - clause 132 of the Firearms Regulation 2006 applies.

Is there a limit to the number of times a person can shoot at a range after completing the P650 form?

No, the legislation does not provide for statutory limits to the number of times an unlicensed person can shoot.

What is meant by 'possess' in relation to a person shooting on an approved range?

For the purposes of section 6B of the Firearms Act 1996, 'possess' is defined as knowingly having custody of a firearm. Section 4(1) and section 4A of the Firearms Act 1996.  

Should a person who surrendered a category H licence in the Buyback of 2003/2004 answer 'Yes' to question a) on the P650 form?

No, they surrendered their licence; it was not refused, revoked, suspended or cancelled. The person should respond 'No' under these circumstances.

If a company brings out staff for a corporate day of shooting and they successfully complete the P650 form, will they all be able to shoot?

There are no prescribed limitations to the number of persons who can use a range at one time. However, a club would need to ensure that public safety is not compromised and that direct supervision by persons holding the same category of licence as the type of firearms being used was able to be attained.

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Can a form be pre-completed with photo identification details recorded on the form?

Yes, a form can be pre-completed. A club/range official or instructor must ensure they sight the photo ID and verify it against the recorded details.

What is acceptable photo identification?

Acceptable photo identification is a photo ID issued by a government agency or public authority. Drivers licence, passport, security industry licence etc. A business or club ID is not acceptable.

Can a club/range official or an instructor accept a P650 declaration if the person doesn't produce photo ID, but produces other documentation?

No, photo ID must be produced and sighted by the club/range official or instructor, except in the case of a minor, when the photo ID of the parent or legal guardian is supplied and sighted.

What if a person falsely answers the questions in the personal history of the P650 declaration form?

Section 72(2) of the Firearms Act 1996, prescribes for an offence where a person makes a false and misleading entry in or alteration to a record required to be kept under the Firearms Act 1996.

The Firearms Registry will conduct audits from time to time to check on forms and registers maintained by clubs and instructors as provided by clause 110(4)(c) of the Firearms Regulation 2006.

Prosecution of a person would be considered where a false and misleading statement is made by a person in connection with the completion of a P650 declaration from and this comes to the attention of the Firearms Registry.

Does a Firearm Instructor Permit holder who trains security guards and government agency employees in safe handling of pistols use the P650 form for course participants?

Clause 88 of the Firearms Regulation 2006, provides for a condition on a range approval that the range approval holder must ensure that any person using the range is authorised by a licence or permit to possess and use the firearm on the range, unless

  • Section 6B of the Firearms Act 1996, applies in relation to the person, or
  • An Open Day is being held at the range.

All course participants being instructed by the holder of a Firearms Instructor permit are authorised to possess and use firearms for the purpose of completing a firearms safety training course in pistols by the authority of the Firearms Instructor Permit. Therefore, the course participants do not need to complete a P650 declaration form.

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