Shooters have criticised a move by the NSW firearms registry that forces gun clubs bordering Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the ACT to break affiliations with interstate shooting associations.
The NSW Police, who approve gun club ranges to enable shooters to hold firearm licences, has told clubs near the state’s borders that it will no longer recognise historical affiliations with interstate peak bodies, blaming the move on the way gun laws in NSW have been written.
In correspondence to clubs, the NSW Police say that those clubs can retain their interstate affiliations but must base their range approvals on affiliations with associations that are based in NSW.
The National Shooting Council has attacked the move saying that most border clubs affiliate with interstate associations which are better suited geographically to their needs. It said it is like forcing residents of Broken Hill who are closer to Adelaide than Sydney and operate on SA time, to operate on NSW time and to only get their supplies from within NSW.
NSC spokesman, Peter Zabrdac, said some affiliations go back over 100 years and work well especially where there are border communities, such as with Albury and Wodonga on the Victorian border.
“The registries decision will cut pathways for shooters to local, state, national and international competitions such as the Olympics, and make it harder for those clubs to attract and keep members,” he said.
“There is no problem being fixed here. If anything, it would appear that the NSW registry is out of touch with how shooting works”
The Council says that the move is also against the spirit of the National Firearms Agreement.
“The NFA promotes the mutual recognition of licences and membership of organisations that support the international shooting sports such as the Olympics, but the NSW registry’s move pulls back from that, “Mr Zabrdac said.
“The registry is also saying that it does not trust the judgement of police run interstate firearm registries on who they approve”.
The Council said that if the firearms registry wanted to comply with the NFA, it would recognise national shooting bodies such as Target Rifle Australia, National Rifle Association of Australia, Pistol Australia and Australian Clay Target Association and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia through any of their state affiliates.
“The fact the NSW firearms registry does not already do this shows that they are ‘out of their depth’ when it comes to understanding, and working with, the shooting community,” Mr Zabrdac said.
“The solution is simple. If the law is out of date, then change the law”.