Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 Assented
The Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 was assented to and is now in law. The Act allows specially licensed shooters to have renewed access to Category D firearms, allowing landholders to better control vertebrate pest animals.
The Act addresses a 2020 court decision, which determined that a previously lawful category D firearm was prohibited because it was "of a kind that is designed or adapted for military purposes". To address the situation, NSW Police Force responded by creating temporary exemptions for affected licence holders by amending the regulation. The Act provides a more permanent solution.
- amends Schedule 1, items 5 and 6 by removing the words “of a kind” from the definition of self-loading centre-fire rifles and self-loading shotguns that are designed or adapted for military purposes are prohibited firearms
- amends section 8 to clarify that a firearm (other than a pistol) fitted with a stock that is designed to be readily detachable, or to operate on a swivel, folding or telescopic basis is a firearm to which a category D licence may apply
- provides greater flexibility for the licence term for primary producers involved in an eradication campaign – they will be able to access 12 month, 2 year or 5 year terms and amends the Firearms Regulation 2017, clause 8 to provide for the terms of category D licences
- makes sure that if a person legally acquires a self-loading centrefire rifle or a self-loading shotgun which later becomes adapted for military purposes, they will be able to continue to own it. The exemption applies only while the rifle or shotgun remains in the possession of the person who legally acquired it before rifles or shotguns of that type were adapted for military purposes and does not allow the rifle or shotgun to be on-sold
- amends the Firearms Regulation 2017, clause 35 to update references to Departments that may carry out vertebrate pest animal control as a result of machinery of government changes
Category D firearm licences continue to be very tightly controlled and can be issued for specific firearms, including some self-loading centre fire rifles – and only in instances where the Commissioner is satisfied there is a genuine reason of vertebrate pest animal control for the firearm, and that there is a special need for the person to possess a Category D firearm. Self-loading centre fire rifles which have been designed or are currently adapted for military purposes remain strictly prohibited in NSW.
Firearms Registry Performance and Data Report
The NSW Firearms Registry is pleased to present a report on our performance and data. This comprehensive report is updated each month and presents our major transactions and data, including amnesty figures, permits to acquire, and firearm dealer transactions. The report also provides licensing and firearm registration data of interest to the public.
The report shows the average processing times for permits to acquire, which is the Firearms Registry's largest volume application.
Recent additions to Gun Safe allow customers to track their licence and renewal applications. This new service means we will be able to present licence and renewal application processing times, which is coming shortly. More services, including communication direct to customers through their Gun Safe portal, make it easier for customers to do business with the Firearms Registry.
Gun Safe Applications – communication when further information is required
Commencing Sunday 19th December 2021, the Firearms Registry will now send a SMS/text message or email to you if you applied via Gun Safe and more information about your application is needed.
The SMS text message and email are sent from ‘do not reply’ mailboxes, therefore, customers will be unable to reply to the SMS text message or the email. The email will provide instructions on how to supply the required information by logging into the NSW Firearms Registry Customer Portal.
This enhanced functionality applies to the following Gun Safe transactions:
- New licence applications
- Licence renewal applications
- Permit to Acquire (PTA) applications
Firearms Regulation Amendment
On 12 November 2021, the Firearms Amendment (Exemptions and Compliance Requirements) Regulation 2021 amended the Firearms Regulation 2017.
Exemption - military self-loading centre-fire rifles
Category D licence holders who had military style self-loading centre fire rifles registered to them at the commencement of the exemption can renew their licence and retain such firearms for up to 12 months after the renewal. This exemption relates to category D military style firearms that were deemed prohibited due to the recent legal outcome of Bankowski v Commissioner. This extension will provide NSW Police with some additional time to identify a solution to this matter.
Security guards meeting their annual accreditation requirements
Under the new amendment, security guards who are unable, for a legitimate reason, to do their annual accreditation can be provided an extension of up to 24 months. Previously, security guards who legitimately could not undertake their annual accreditation must have had their licence revoked.
This amendment gives the Commissioner the power to extend compliance periods so that an armed security guard, classes of security guards or all security guards can meet their obligation.
Exemption concerning participation requirements during public emergency
This exemption gives the Commissioner discretion to grant an exemption to firearm licence holders from participation requirements, including compliance periods, if satisfied that compliance with the requirements would not be feasible or practical due to a public emergency.
A copy of the exemption order will be published on the website of the NSW Police Force and may specify conditions requiring compliance with alternate requirements or limit the criteria or specified period of the requirements.
This exemption can be afforded to classes of persons. For example: a club (say, if a club or range cannot be used due to fire following a state of emergency), or an individual person (say, if under quarantine/self-isolation due to a pandemic).
A public emergency includes a public health risk, including a pandemic or other public health risk and an emergency such as when a state of emergency is declared (e.g. fire or flood).
Firearms - Deceased Estates
The Firearms Registry is introducing a new, simple way for people to be able to acquire firearms that they have inherited.
Further information is available on the Firearms – Deceased Estate webpage.
COVID-relief information for firearms licence holders
Due to the ongoing health situation in NSW, the NSW Firearms Registry advises the following:
Armed security guards
Any armed security guard needing to undertake their annual accreditation do not have to do so while firearms safety training courses for armed guards cannot be run due to the health situation in NSW. To support this:
- The Firearms Registry recognises that there may be situations where there are no approved courses available and does not propose to revoke a licence on the basis that a security guard cannot undertake their annual accreditation during this health situation
- If you need to renew your licence, please upload a statutory declaration into Gun Safe advising that you will complete the accreditation as soon as reasonably practical with a proposed timeframe. The Firearms Registry will accept a renewal of a licence without your annual accreditation evidence at this time
The Firearms Registry is aware that due to the ongoing pandemic and evolving circumstances, some licence holders may find it difficult to comply with their participation requirements given stay-at-home orders, self-isolation, quarantine or even due to a reluctance to congregate.
Any club member - whether a sports target (pistol or longarm), hunting or collecting – needing to undertake participation activities do not have to do so while clubs and ranges are closed due to the health situation in NSW. To support this:
- The Firearms Registry does not propose to revoke a licence on the basis that a licence holder cannot fulfil their participation requirements due to self-isolation, lockdown, quarantine, concerns about congregating due to COVID or club/range closure due to the health situation in NSW.
- Licence holders in this situation do not need to notify the Firearms Registry on this matter.
Expiry of photographic advice letters
Under the current health orders, it is a reasonable excuse for a NSW resident to leave the house in order to fulfil a legal obligation. The taking of a photo for a licence card is fulfilling a legal obligation and Service NSW centres remain open and accessible for you to do this. However, if you cannot complete this before your photographic advice letter expires, please contact the Firearms Registry to seek an extension. Please ensure you do this before the expiration of the letter.
Expiry of permits to acquire
Under the current health orders, it is a reasonable excuse for a NSW resident to leave the house to obtain goods. Most firearms dealers across NSW remain open; however, suggest you contact your dealer to see if they are open before attending. If you cannot attend a firearms dealer before your permit to acquire expires please contact the Firearms Registry to seek an extension.
Firearms Registry - business as usual
The Firearms Registry continues to operate as business as usual and is providing our whole suite of services to the NSW firearms and weapons community. To help us continue to do this, please be considerate of our need to support all our customers and limit your email and telephone queries to urgent matters only.
National Firearms Amnesty
New South Wales will be participating in an ongoing National Firearms Amnesty (amnesty) which commenced on 1July 2021.
The aim of the amnesty is to reduce the number of unregistered firearms in Australia.
The amnesty will provide an opportunity for those individuals, who for whatever reason, are in possession of an unregistered firearm or firearm related article to surrender, register or supply the items, without fear of prosecution. Prohibited weapons can also be surrendered without fear of prosecution.
A dedicated amnesty webpage has been created and contains additional information/resources, including a list of participating firearm dealers and frequently asked questions relating to the amnesty.
National Firearms Amnesty (NSW) and COVID-19
Members of the firearm industry have asked if the handing in of a firearm for surrender under the National Firearms Amnesty is a reasonable excuse for leaving the house under the current stay-at-home public health orders (Public Health (COVID-19 Temporary Movement and Gathering Restrictions) Order 2021.)
Surrendering a firearm may be considered to be fulfilling a legal obligation or accessing public services, which are reasonable excuses to leave the house, particularly if it is deemed a risk to the public not to surrender the firearm immediately. In surrendering a firearm in a location that is subject to stay-at-home and other health orders, members of the public are reminded to:
- Comply with all other COVID health order obligations, including physical distancing and wearing a mask
- Make an appointment with a licensed participating dealer or police station
- Carry evidence of your appointment while transporting the firearm to be surrendered. This will mean that if you are asked to evidence your reasonable excuse for leaving the house, you can do so easily
- Consider surrendering your firearm at a time of day that is less busy so as to reduce exposure possibilities and ensure your travel arrangements are efficient to reduce time out of the house
Members of the public must comply with the NSW health orders which affect locations throughout NSW differently. Please check the NSW Health website to stay up to date with the evolving situation.
Firearms and Weapons Prohibition Regulation Amendments
On 25 June 2021, the Firearms Amendment Regulation 2021 amends the Firearms Regulation 2017 and the Weapons Prohibition Amendment Regulation 2021 amends the Weapons Prohibition Regulation 2017.
Federal Family Violence Orders
Under the new amendments, federal family violence orders under the Family Law Act 1975 are now included in the specified list of apprehended violence orders and interim apprehended violence order of other jurisdictions. These orders are not yet in place nationally in the Family Law and Federal Circuit Courts so will not be considered in licensing decisions until they have been implemented, which is expected in mid-2022. Also amended is the citation to other federal orders, being Personal Protection Injunctions, so that only injunctions relating specifically to matters of personal violence or relevance to licensing decisions must be considered.
Storage of firearms – inhabited dwellings
The new amendments also clarify the 2017 change which required a firearms owner to store firearms in their principal places of residence. This change was brought in to reduce the risk of firearms being stolen from unattended dwellings like holiday homes or hobby farmhouses where firearms are stored. Firearm owners wanted clearer instructions on what a principal place of residence means so the concept of inhabited dwelling was introduced and defined.
A licence or permit holder may now only store a firearm in an inhabited dwelling or in a dwelling where the licence or permit holder, or someone on their behalf, can easily observe the premises where the firearm is stored. Under this new provision, an inhabited dwelling is a person’s principal place of residence, where the licence or permit holder may or may not also live, or where a person lives while the firearm is stored there. Licensed firearms dealers are still able to store firearms at a commercial premise they use to carry out their firearm dealing activities.
If a person stores their firearms in a place other than an inhabited dwelling, they can do so provided the following safe storage requirements are met or exceeded:
All firearms must be—
- stored in a safe of an approved type, and
- fitted with a trigger or barrel lock that prevents the firearm from being discharged, and
- secured individually on, or in, a locked device within the safe.
The safe must be fitted with an alarm of an approved type that is monitored off-site.
The premises on which the firearm is stored must have an intruder alarm and duress facilities that are monitored off-site and are of an approved type.
These changes accommodate for firearm owners storing their firearms at hobby farms or holiday dwellings but also address the greater risk of targeted theft by increasing safe storage requirements. Meeting these enhanced safe storage requirements is now affordable and simple due to advances in CCTV and mobile technology.
Exemption for Category D licence holders
The regulation creates an exemption for a small pool of category D licence holders who are now inadvertently in breach of the Act due to an interpretation made in Bankowski v Commissioner of Police  NSWCATAD 17. The exemption enables affected licence holders to retain affected firearms until the customer disposes of the firearm. The exemption applies for the length of a person’s licence term or until the licence is suspended or revoked or the registration is cancelled.
NSW Police were advised that pistols were being used on rural land under the guise of sighting in. This was never the intention of the sighting in provision, which allows a person to use their firearm in certain circumstances to aim and adjust various components for accuracy. An amendment is included to ensure that pistols are not used in an unauthorised manner.
Arms fairs and RSL display permits
Additionally, under the new amendments a person who is the subject of a firearms prohibition order will be prohibited from attending arms fairs. Arms fairs are any public event where firearms are temporarily displayed for sale or exhibition.
An RSL display permit will now also authorise anything that an ammunition collection permit authorises and will be subject to the same conditions as an ammunition collection permit.
The provision that exempts interstate firearms licence holders from also holding a NSW firearms licence if they are posted to NSW for their employment has been repealed. Interstate licence holders who have already qualified for this exemption will continue to be exempt unless they cease to hold an interstate licence or until they are no longer posted to NSW for their employment. This provision has been repealed as it created problems in the interstate management of firearms.
The amendments clarify the exemption for members of the Australian Defence Force, NSW Police Force and other specified public servants who hold a firearms licence and are posted interstate for their employment. The exemption allows them to maintain their licence while out of the state, but the amendments state that they are not permitted to take or store their firearm/s outside of NSW. It also clarifies that they are required to abide by the firearms laws of whichever state they are posted.
The Weapons Regulation has also been amended and it is now illegal to possess a bump stock without a permit. A bump stock is used in the place of a standard stock on semiautomatic rifles. The action of a bump stock allows the semiautomatic rifle to fire all rounds in the magazine with one squeeze of the trigger. This function has seen bump stocks feature in mass shooting events in the United States.
Finally, various mechanical changes are made to update names of various entities and to simplify certain references. For example, references to the Firearms Registry have been replaced by references to the Commissioner but this does not affect the role or responsibility of the Firearms Registry, being the delegate of the Police Commissioner.
Connecting for a safer community
The NSW Firearms Registry is enhancing processes for new firearm licence applications, renewal of firearm licences and permits to acquire (PTA) for applicants and pistol clubs.
A number of online services are now available for Firearms Registry customers via the NSW Police Force Community Portal.
The changes see real-time efficiencies for the NSW Firearms Registry, as well as:
- Real-time checks against the NSW Police Force licensing system
- Explanations throughout the application to guide the customer to accurately answer questions
- Back end logic to support customers in making the right selection for the appropriate genuine reason for their licence
- A seamless user experience when completing applications, including applicant notifications reducing the need to contact the Firearms Registry
- Decrease manual processing for clubs by introducing a digital approval for certifying applicants with Category H PTA applications
- Reducing error opportunities by introducing back end validations when completing applications
- Quicker turnaround times for compliant applications
The new changes were released on 25 February 2021 and are part of a phased delivery of digital services for the NSW firearms community.
Sunset of the Firearms and Weapons COVID 19 Regulation
In response to COVID-19 restrictions, the Firearms Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 and Weapons Prohibition Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 came into force on 15 April 2020 to assist the NSW firearms and weapons community in managing their responsibilities while COVID-19 (Coronavirus) health orders are in place.
These will expire (sunset) on 15 April 2021.
If you have a licence that has expired and you have been covered by the COVID Regulation, you must renew your licence prior to 15 April 2021 if you wish to continue to be licensed. Instructions on how to do this can be found: https://portal.police.nsw.gov.au/s/online-firearm-applications
If you do not make efforts to renew your licence prior to 15 April 2021, the Firearms Registry will cancel your licence. If you have firearms attached to your licence and you have not renewed your licence, you will no longer have continued authority to hold firearms. This may result in police seizing your firearms. Please be proactive to prevent this from occurring.
If you have renewed your licence but have yet to attend a Service NSW to have your photo taken, please do so as soon as possible. The 12 month extension for this activity will no longer apply beyond 15 April, and will return to the pre-COVID 60 day timeframe.
With regards to club participation requirements, the regulation extended the annual (12 month) compliance period to 24 months. This means that if you were unable to complete your participation requirements in the last 12 months, you have another 12 to do so. However, if you have completed your participation requirements already, you are not required to complete another set of participation requirements.
The COVID regulation was introduced to help firearms licence and weapons permit holders to remain compliant with obligations during a difficult and uncertain time. Now we have increased certainty and are largely free from significant health restrictions preventing movement, the Firearms Registry appreciates your efforts to ensure your licensing and participation obligations are up to date.
If you have any difficulties in complying with the above, please contact the Firearms Registry on 1300 362 562 or email@example.com before 15 April 2021 to discuss your options.
Completion of P650 Declaration –
Unlicensed person shooting on an Approved Range to undertake an approved Firearms Safety Training Course
A new process has been implemented to allow the Firearms Registry to provide applicants the ability to submit an application for a Firearms Permit if they have answered yes to the Question (a) under Section B of the P650 Declaration form - “Have you in NSW or elsewhere been refused or prohibited from holding a firearms licence or permit or had a firearms licence or permit suspended, cancelled or revoked?”
If approved for issue, the permit will authorise a person, in the above circumstance only, to undertake an approved firearms safety course on an approved Range within NSW.
For additional information please go to the frequently asked questions section at www.police.nsw.gov.au/online_services/firearms/clubs/firearms_safety_training_instructor/frequently_asked_questions_on_the_p650_process.
Details on how to fill out the application, including the relevant forms can be found on the website at https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/online_services/firearms/permits/firearms_permits/undertake_a_firearms_safety_training_course.
The Firearms Regulation 2017 (NSW) allows for the NSW Firearms Registry to approve interstate clubs as principal clubs for NSW licence holders. The relevant clause was drafted with the intent to permit NSW firearms licence holders to undertake shooting activities at clubs operating near or on the borders rather than travelling long distances to a NSW club.
The NSW Police Force has no concerns about NSW licence holders joining interstate clubs as associate members or participating in activities at interstate clubs; however, if a licence holder declares an interstate club as their principal club it falls outside of our regulatory jurisdiction for auditing and compliance requirements.
Nothing stops an individual licence holder from belonging to an interstate club in addition to their principal club for ease of access to a range or competition.
The NSW Firearms Registry is currently rolling out a digital platform to manage reporting requirements of clubs and the inclusion of interstate clubs with reporting requirements presents a number of added and significant challenges.
The Firearms Registry has been in consultation with interstate clubs about these issues and has only cancelled approvals of clubs that have agreed they no longer see the need for NSW approval.
If for some reason an interstate club were to disagree with a NSW Firearms Registry decision to cancel their approval, there are appeal mechanisms that can be employed by the club via internal review and external review to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Gel Blasters - Update
Firearms Museum Legislation Amendment
Remington Safety Warning and Recall Notice
Commencement of SMS Notifications
Transfer of Paintball Regulation
Zombie Knives Legislative Amendment
Gel Blasters - Definition in NSW
Firearms and Weapons Legislation Amendment Act 2017
New Regulations - Summary of Key Changes Applicable to Firearms Dealers
New Regulations - Exemption - Laser Target Shooting Devices (Imitation Firearms) - Biathlons and Pentathlons
New Regulations - Summary of Key Changes Applicable to Licence/Permit Holders
Transfer of Paintball Regulation
Deloitte Review of NSW Police Force Firearms Registry
Commencement of new Firearms and Weapons Regulations
Transitional Arrangements - Lever Action Shotgun Re-Categorisation
Release of the National Firearms Agreement
Information re Importing Silencers
Encryption of Firearms Registry Emails
Changes to the Importation of Firearms & Weapons
Procedural changes recently introduced by the Department of Immigration & Border Protection have streamlined the B709 process for some NSW residents and firearms dealers. Further information is available at -
Licence Holder News & Events
- General Legislative Requirements - Licence Holder
- General Legislative Requirements - Firearms Permit Holder
- General Legislative Requirements - Prohibited Weapons Permit Holder
- Safety Matters
- Mental Health Section 79 Notification Form
- Legislative Requirements
- Safe Storage Inspections
- Permit to Acquire a Firearm, How They Work
- Introduction to Firearms
- Firearms Registry Telephone Contact Hours
- Department of Primary Industries, Game Licensing Unit