Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Questions about New South Wales gun and ammunition laws. NSW Firearms Act 1996.

Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by brett1868 » 21 Jan 2019, 2:58 pm

Maybe a little more detail....I get exactly where you're coming from and I wish we could practise with pistols on private property but it's currently illegal.

https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/regulation/2017/442/part3/sec33

Item 2. This clause authorises the use of a firearm on any land on which use of the firearm is not otherwise unlawful and is not limited to use at an approved shooting range.

This is the legislation that makes it "Otherwise Illegal".
https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1996/46/part2/div2/sec8?autoquery=(Content%3D((%22target%22)))&dq=Within%20Title%3D%22Firearms%20Act%201996%20No%2046%22,%20All%20Words%3D%22target%22&fullquery=(Content%3D((%22target%22)))&withintitle=yes

Category H licence (pistols)
In the case of a category H (sport/target shooting) licence, the licensee is authorised to possess or use a registered pistol only for the purposes of participating in competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner.


Depending on what club you're a member of they will have a documented and approved list of competitions that the club is endorsed to run. I see nothing that gives approval to shoot a commissioner approved activity in private property.

Both Pomemax and myself have been shooting pistols since the 80's and we both shoot at St Mary's so if you're out that way then get in touch, we can always use some new company to shoot with :) I'd be curious as to what the police come back with but I think they'll confirm it's not permitted. It's not something I'd like to defend in court at this stage.....
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by Nigel » 21 Jan 2019, 6:17 pm

brett1868 wrote:
In the case of a category H (sport/target shooting) licence, the licensee is authorised to possess or use a registered pistol only for the purposes of participating in competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner.

Thanks for the feedback. If I understand you correctly, you are arguing that the word "only" in the quoted sentence from section 8(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) restricts the authorised use of handguns strictly to use in "competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner". This in turn makes use outside competition illegal and serves to prevent the use of the authority in clause 33 of the regulations by holders of category H (sport/target shooting) licences.

When examining the effect of clause 33 and considering this particular passage, I initially came to the same conclusion as you. Upon further consideration of the wording in the context of the act as a whole, I decided that that interpretation was not correct. I will attempt to explain my conclusions on this.

There are two questions that have to be dealt with:

1) Is the authority granted in section 8(1) a narrow authority that is limited strictly to use "in competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner" or is it a intended to be a broader authority that encompasses implied authorities to posses and use handguns in situations incidental to the broad purpose of participating in competitive shooting activities?

2) Does the use of the word "only" in the passage quoted above exclude the application of any other express authorities granted to licence holders generally in other provisions of the act and the regulations?

I will share my views on each of these questions in separate posts or this will get too long.
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by zhuk » 21 Jan 2019, 6:54 pm

Nigel wrote:
1) Is the authority granted in section 8(1) a narrow authority that is limited strictly to use "in competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner"


Yes.


or is it a intended to be a broader authority that encompasses implied authorities to posses and use handguns in situations incidental to the broad purpose of participating in competitive shooting activities?


Nope.


Re "competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner" after the Monash Uni shooting when the 2003 revamped handgun laws were being drawn up IPSC only just held onto legality by the skin of its teeth. So if any activity is not "approved by the Commissioner" then nope. There is no "broader authority".
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by pomemax » 21 Jan 2019, 7:12 pm

a narrow authority that is limited strictly to use "in competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner YES
Does the use of the word "only" in the passage quoted above exclude the application of any other express authorities YES
IF you don,t want to believe me I will read about it in the papers UNDER the heading "NIGEL arrested for target shooting A pistol on private land "
the news report will go on to say its a simple case man found shooting a pistol on private land Less than half an hour in court Find X amount of $$$$ and a ten year firearms exclusion
May be you should ask how many people I know who thought the same as you I have one silly mate who bought cross bows in the 60s he did not think the crossbow ban was for people who had them years ago . DERRR (had one on the wall when cops done safe inspection )
3 maybe 4 not sure I think he was a minor the 4th all went on a ten year ban for shooting a pistol on private land at Mudgee funny thing was only 1 pistol 3 guys were shooting it all three were banned not JUST THE OWNER .
Project for you find out how many people were banned for 10 years last year and the trivial reasons I can only find figures for 2015 As at 31 October 2015, two years after the introduction of the FPO search powers, there were 1,317 people served with an FPO in NSW
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by pomemax » 21 Jan 2019, 7:53 pm

This is the sort of question that should be spelled out to all new shooters WHO can impose a FPO ( firearms prevention order ) on a licences shooter ANY cop from the general duty cop to the commissioner ,any court ,the firearms registry ( ie: that lady you just abused for taking to long ) and any official from the attorneys general department .
Then to have it revoked you have 28 DAYS TO LODGE APPEAL To then have it heard at a tribunal ( good luck with that ).
This is why we have to be so careful of what we do the cops do not need much of a reason and unlike the rest of our system innocent till proven guilty the cop decides you guilty then you ave to prove you are not all at you own cost
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by JWD40 » 21 Jan 2019, 9:18 pm

brett1868 wrote:Category H licence (pistols)
In the case of a category H (sport/target shooting) licence, the licensee is authorised to possess or use a registered pistol only for the purposes of participating in competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner.


Depending on what club you're a member of they will have a documented and approved list of competitions that the club is endorsed to run. I see nothing that gives approval to shoot a commissioner approved activity in private property.

Both Pomemax and myself have been shooting pistols since the 80's and we both shoot at St Mary's so if you're out that way then get in touch, we can always use some new company to shoot with :) I'd be curious as to what the police come back with but I think they'll confirm it's not permitted. It's not something I'd like to defend in court at this stage.....


I still want to be clear that i agree, it's not the type of law you'd want to be defending yourself against. And i still maintain my stance that i wouldn't be suggesting trying it out.

However, i'm still not convinced the clause you've mentioned actually states you can't use it on private land for sighting in. To me it reads, the owner is allowed to own or use a gun for "competitive shooting activities" approved by the commissioner. Part of being competitive would require the activity of sighting in. Seeing as clause 33 is allowing sighting in on private land. I'm currently assuming (right or wrong) that Clause 33 is approved by the commissioner and that sighting in is an activity required to compete.
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by Ziad » 21 Jan 2019, 10:36 pm

Simple. Find a couple hundred buck donation, go see a firearms lawyer and discuss. Either you are missing something.....or you are right and everyone else missed it.... maybe sometimes ppl get bogged down and don't think outside the box.
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by Nigel » 21 Jan 2019, 11:55 pm

Nigel wrote:1) Is the authority granted in section 8(1) a narrow authority that is limited strictly to use "in competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner" or is it a intended to be a broader authority that encompasses implied authorities to posses and use handguns in situations incidental to the broad purpose of participating in competitive shooting activities?


Section 8(1) contains the primary authority granted to holders of category H (sport/target shooting) licences:

"In the case of a category H (sport/target shooting) licence, the licensee is authorised to possess or use a registered pistol only for the purposes of participating in competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner."

There are two possible ways to interpret this sentence:

A) A narrow authority that authorises possession or use a pistol strictly "for the purposes of participating in competitive shooting activities" and nothing else ('Option A'); or

B) A broader authority to possess and use a pistol in competitive shooting activities and in other activities necessary or incidental to competitive shooting ('Option B').

I believe that Option B is the correct interpretation. I will list a few discussion points that help explain why I think this is the case.


1) I believe that the authority granted includes an implied authority to to use a pistol for practicing or receiving training or instruction related to competitive shooting.

I am not aware of any express authority to do this anywhere is the legislation.

At my club a lot of people go to the range to practice and then leave without competing. There are days when the range is open for practice and no competitions are held. Same with training, people go to the range, use a pistol in the course of training and then leave without engaging in a competitive event.

I'm sure you guys who shoot at St Marys aren't "participating in competitive shooting activities" every single time you go to the range to shoot pistols.

If Option A is correct, these people are all breaking the law. They are committing an offence of unauthorised use of a pistol pursuant to section 7 of the act.


2) I believe the authority includes an implied authority to possess a pistol at all times including times when the licence holder is not actually "participating in competitive shooting activities".

Licence holders posses their pistols when they have them in a safe at home. They posses their pistols when they transport them to and from the range. They are not "participating in competitive shooting activities" when they do these things. This possession is incidental to the primary authorised purpose. If Option A were the correct interpretation, this would be unauthorised possession. Category H (sport/target shooting) licence holders would have to hand over possession of their pistols to some other authorised party the moment the "competitive shooting activities" ended.

I am not aware of any express authorisations in the act or regulations covering possession in these circumstances. If the legislature didn't intend this implied authority, why did they set out detailed rules for the storage and transport of firearms.


3) These sorts of crazy conclusions would affect all licence categories, not just category H.

The authority granted to all categories of licence in section 8(1) uses similar wording. Category A and B licence holders are "authorised to possess or use a registered firearm of the kind to which the licence applies, but only for the purpose established by the licensee as being the genuine reason for possessing or using the firearm".

The holder of a Category AB (hunting/vermin control) licence is therefore authorised to possess and use a firearm for the purpose of hunting/vermin control. If a strict interpretation is applied assuming no implied authority, these people can only posses or use firearms when they are actually engaged in hunting. How would that work?
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by Nigel » 22 Jan 2019, 12:48 am

pomemax wrote:a narrow authority that is limited strictly to use "in competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner YES
Does the use of the word "only" in the passage quoted above exclude the application of any other express authorities YES
IF you don,t want to believe me I will read about it in the papers UNDER the heading "NIGEL arrested for target shooting A pistol on private land "
the news report will go on to say its a simple case man found shooting a pistol on private land Less than half an hour in court Find X amount of $$$$ and a ten year firearms exclusion
May be you should ask how many people I know who thought the same as you I have one silly mate who bought cross bows in the 60s he did not think the crossbow ban was for people who had them years ago . DERRR (had one on the wall when cops done safe inspection )
3 maybe 4 not sure I think he was a minor the 4th all went on a ten year ban for shooting a pistol on private land at Mudgee funny thing was only 1 pistol 3 guys were shooting it all three were banned not JUST THE OWNER .
Project for you find out how many people were banned for 10 years last year and the trivial reasons I can only find figures for 2015 As at 31 October 2015, two years after the introduction of the FPO search powers, there were 1,317 people served with an FPO in NSW

Thanks for your input.

Please rest assured that I would not consider using a pistol on private land unless I was absolutely certain that it is legal. The primary concern is not fines or bans. The maximum penalty for unauthorised use of a pistol is 14 years imprisonment. I take this very seriously.

Regarding the incident you referred to in Mudgee, was this before or after 1 September 2017? Were any of the individuals charged with any offence?
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by bladeracer » 22 Jan 2019, 1:24 am

Nigel wrote:2) Does the use of the word "only" in the passage quoted above exclude the application of any other express authorities granted to licence holders generally in other provisions of the act and the regulations?


I really like your interpretation and can't disagree with it.
If you can convince the authorities that this is correct it'd be awesome...until they then do close the loophole, so is anything actually achieved?
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by Daddybang » 22 Jan 2019, 6:47 am

Pretty simple really. .... invite the local copper over..pull out ya glock and do some sighting in and in a very short while ya get the opportunity to get a court ruling.
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by zhuk » 22 Jan 2019, 6:55 am

The "participating in competitive shooting activities" includes practicing for fulfilling your minimum 6 yearly mandatory scored competitions, otherwise how could anyone better their scores without practice. Not sure how that wasn't the bleeding obvious really

Why haven't you settled this once and for all yet by ringing the Registry, Nigel?

Just wondering lol
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by Nigel » 22 Jan 2019, 2:18 pm

Nigel wrote:2) Does the use of the word "only" in the passage quoted above exclude the application of any other express authorities granted to licence holders generally in other provisions of the act and the regulations?


Section 8(1) contains the primary authority granted to holders of category H (sport/target shooting) licences:

"In the case of a category H (sport/target shooting) licence, the licensee is authorised to possess or use a registered pistol only for the purposes of participating in competitive shooting activities that are approved by the Commissioner."

There are at least two possible interpretations of the use of the word "only" in this authorisation:

A) It serves to limit the totality of the authority provided to the licensee and prevents any other provisions of the act or regulations from adding to or expanding that authority ('Option A')

B) The word only serves only to limit the scope of the authority provided in that sentence and leaves open the possibility of the authority being added to or expanded by other provisions of the act or regulations ('Option B')

I believe option B is the correct interpretation and will attempt to explain this.

Keep in mind that the authority provided by section 8(1) for every category of licence, other than dealer and collector licences, uses the same "...only for the purposes of..." phrase as the passage under consideration. Any conclusion you draw about the effect of the word "only" applies equally to those other categories.


1) Section 8 itself says that the authority granted in subsection 1 can be modified by other parts of the act and by the regulations.

8(3) The authority conferred by a licence is subject to this Act and the regulations.



2) The additional authorities provided in section 9 of the act would be almost pointless if Option A were correct.

Section 9 provides authority to licence holders to posses firearms while taking them to licenced dealers or the police for various reasons. If Option A is the correct interpretation of "only", these authorities are not applicable to almost every category of licence available. I don't think this was the legislature's intention.


3) The drafters of the regulations seem to believe that clause 33 of the regulations confers authority to holders of licences issued for the purpose of sport/target shooting.

Clause 29(b) of the regulations places a condition on licences issued for the genuine reason of sport/target shooting that "the licence does not authorise the use of a firearm except at a shooting range approved under Part 8 or under the authority conferred by clause 33".

All of the categories of licence that are available for the genuine reason of sport/target shooting (A,B and H) are granted an authority by section 8(1) of the act that includes the "...only for the purposes of..." language. If the Option A interpretation of "only" is correct, clause 33 is not applicable to any of them and can not confer any authority to the holders of sport/target shooting licences. The fact that the regulations refer to "the authority conferred by clause 33" in clause 29 indicates that the drafters of the regulations do not agree with this interpretation.
Last edited by Nigel on 22 Jan 2019, 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by Nigel » 22 Jan 2019, 3:14 pm

zhuk wrote:Why haven't you settled this once and for all yet by ringing the Registry, Nigel?

Just wondering lol

Calling the registry doesn't settle anything.

The police are no more qualified to interpret the law than any of us. They are not lawyers and they don't give out legal advice.

With regards to firearms laws, they err towards interpreting them restrictively. If you ask them if they think something is allowed and there is any complexity or uncertainty in the relevant provisions, they are going to say "not allowed".

The only person that can provide an authoritative interpretation is a judge. Unfortunately, given the way our legal system works, the only way you can get in front of a judge to get this interpretation is to be charged with an offence.

It would be useful to know the NSW Police Force's position on this matter so people know whether they would be likely to get the opportunity to speak to a judge about this. Even if you were 100% sure of your position on this matter, going to court to prove you are right is an expensive, time consuming and stressful exercise.

If Joe Public goes to the registry and asks this question, I doubt they would invest much time or effort in their response. A club, association or other lobbyist organisation would be more likely to get a considered response, especially if they obtain legal advice in advance and present this to the police.
Last edited by Nigel on 22 Jan 2019, 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by Nigel » 22 Jan 2019, 4:43 pm

bladeracer wrote:I really like your interpretation and can't disagree with it.
If you can convince the authorities that this is correct it'd be awesome...until they then do close the loophole, so is anything actually achieved?

I don't really see this as a loophole. From my perspective the law is black and white. The drafters of the regulations made a conscious decision to explicitly state that all licence holders who are authorised to use firearms are authorised to sight in, tune and test them. The also made a made a conscious decision to clearly state that these activities are not restricted to being carried out on authorised ranges.

For some reason people have a strong belief that the authority in clause 33 could not possibly have been intended to apply to handguns and they are searching for obscure chains of logic that support that view. The fact is, if law makers wanted to restrict pistol use to ranges, there are much simpler ways to achieve that. The act or regulations could add a condition to category H (sport/target shooting) licences stating that holders of these licences may not use pistols anywhere but on an approved range.

I don't really understand what the public policy rationale would be to allow sport/target shooting licence holders to sight in rifles on public land but prevent them from sighting in pistols. From the perspective of potential safety risks, pistols are a lot less problematic.
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by bladeracer » 22 Jan 2019, 10:11 pm

Nigel wrote:I don't really see this as a loophole. From my perspective the law is black and white. The drafters of the regulations made a conscious decision to explicitly state that all licence holders who are authorised to use firearms are authorised to sight in, tune and test them. The also made a made a conscious decision to clearly state that these activities are not restricted to being carried out on authorised ranges.

For some reason people have a strong belief that the authority in clause 33 could not possibly have been intended to apply to handguns and they are searching for obscure chains of logic that support that view. The fact is, if law makers wanted to restrict pistol use to ranges, there are much simpler ways to achieve that. The act or regulations could add a condition to category H (sport/target shooting) licences stating that holders of these licences may not use pistols anywhere but on an approved range.

I don't really understand what the public policy rationale would be to allow sport/target shooting licence holders to sight in rifles on public land but prevent them from sighting in pistols. From the perspective of potential safety risks, pistols are a lot less problematic.


I think the reason we all believe it is because we've all been told it by the authorities, even the pistol clubs tell us this. Clearly they do not want us enjoying our handguns outside of approved places, even if it were legal. Pushing them to start following their own laws will just result in them pushing back with a specific ruling to prevent it anyway.

The rational is the same one that prevents us from using suppressors or semi-auto rifles, rational based on a Hollywood education.
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by zhuk » 22 Jan 2019, 10:52 pm

Nigel wrote:
zhuk wrote:Why haven't you settled this once and for all yet by ringing the Registry, Nigel?

Just wondering lol

Calling the registry doesn't settle anything.

The police are no more qualified to interpret the law than any of us. They are not lawyers and they don't give out legal advice.



Doesn't matter. The Registry/police unequivocally DO interpret the law, and enforce their interpretation...you've obviously not heard of the whole "NATO range template" bulls**t clubs are subject to.
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Re: Bringing a pistol from the US to Aus ??

Post by Daddybang » 23 Jan 2019, 6:54 am

Nigel wrote: The act or regulations could add a condition to category H (sport/target shooting) licences stating that holders of these licences may not use pistols anywhere but on an approved


As someone who doesn't own or use handguns isn't this condition in place already as referred to by Brett and Pomemax above??
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