@ShootersUnion - I feel like you have something to say on the matter
We do indeed - we’ve sent localised versions of this letter to the Firearms Licensing Branch in every State/Territory Australia:
I am writing on behalf of Shooters Union Australia regarding a matter directly related to the public health concerns around the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic sweeping the world.
We are formally requesting the participation requirements for competition handgun shooters in [State/Territory] be suspended until June 30.
This is in line with the ‘best practice’ advice from leading public health authorities throughout Australia and abroad, particularly in regards to Government health advice for Australians to practice social isolation or self-isolation to reduce the spread of the disease.
As well as the wider public health benefits, many shooters are elderly or have compromised immune systems, so requiring them to attend ranges to meet their participation requirements could have the effect of exposing them to COVID-19, with potentially deadly results.
These are difficult times for all Australians, and assuring licensed and law-abiding handgun shooters that they will not be penalised because they are unable to complete their mandatory range attendances will provide a great deal of certainty, as well as reducing the number of things they need to worry about.
Given the high likelihood of Australia being placed in some sort of ‘lockdown’ or quarantine situation in the coming days or weeks, being proactive on this issue has only benefits and we encourage you to implement it as soon as possible.
President, Shooters Union Australia
Really like what you’re doing guys, puts all those BS rules into perspective to those who make them. Be interesting to see what they say!
Couldn’t agree more. Well done and hopefully common sense prevails in regards to their answer.
They were pretty good here in Vic with the bush fires, quickly approving new permits so people could dispatch injured stock etc. And being sensible about people having to account for guns lost in burnt houses, sheds n stuff.
I would hope common sense would also prevail here now.
A club over here in WA has just said an email will suffice indicating you cannot attend your required shoots due to COVID-19 . Didn’t mention if the police advised that or not.
I must check with my club to see if they have heard anything.
Here’s the response from Tasmania’s Firearms Branch:
"Thank you for your email in relation to participation requirements to satisfy the genuine reason for possession of a handgun.
This issue raised is indeed one worthy of consideration in these unusual times.
We acknowledge that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and directions around social isolation mean that participation rates should be reviewed for the year 2020.
Because this is a national requirement established under the National Firearms Agreement, it is important that any changes be agreed by States and Territories and the Commonwealth.
A national position is expected to be formed in the coming weeks, which is anticipated to be either:
a. Pro rata reduction of pistol participation rates based on the impacts of social isolation policy in Tasmania and Nationally (likely to be around a 50% reduction); or
b. Complete removal of pistol participation rate requirements for the year 2020.
For the time being Category H licence holders can determine their participation knowing that there will be a sensible reduction in requirements based on the health risks to the community.
Of course this situation is fluid and continues to evolve, so decision made in March or April may be reviewed as the year progresses based on the information available at the time.
Despite the above information this does not remove the requirement to submit participation rate record cards for the calendar year of 2019."
We have also received a response from SAPOL’s Firearms Licensing Branch OIC, who have said SA shooters should not worry about potentially not being able to meet their shoot requirements - he told our SA president “We will be flexible and I hope to have something out either today or early next week. I understand the issues that COVID19 is creating and I will ensure that our processes and requirements reflect the changing circumstances.”
We’re still waiting to hear back from everyone else, but so far it’s been good news.
Update: The NT have replied to confirm they will not take action against anyone who fails to meet their participation rates for the rest of the calendar year.
Sounds like their standard reply, Please bend over, grip your ankles and smile.
This second hand info copied from an indoor pistol ranges f/book page here in Qld. But from what it says it sounds like Weapons Licencing in Qld are being COCKS about it and people must submit valid reasons as to why they haven’t completed their shoots which they in their infinite godliness will then determine valid or not.
Notice from Weapons Licencing
Good Afternoon all,
Off the back of the current ongoing situation in relation to COVID-19, the Clubs, Ranges and Galleries section has sought advice from both Management and our Compliance section in Weapons Licensing, after a number of enquiries in regards to the affect this situation will have, on the completion of Concealable Licence holder’s abilities to complete their required participation shoots. We would also like to address a couple of key points that have also been raised as potential issues, which may help clear up some confusion. Now, obviously since this is uncharted waters for all, this information is potentially subject to change as the situation progresses, but this is how we will proceed based off the current information we have.
Club/Range Closures – As of this morning, advice was released from the Federal Government that Stage 1 closures for non-essential businesses are to begin nationwide. Included as part of these Stage 1 closures was Indoor Sporting venues. As Shooting Clubs would unfortunately fall under Indoor Sporting venues and non-essential businesses, I would strongly advise if you are an indoor facility, you heed this advice for the safety of the employees and the shooters. For those with outdoor facilities, while I would recommend preparing for the possibility of the same thing occurring, should the situation deteriorate further, as it looks like it very well could do, we are leaving the decision of whether to close the doors temporarily, up to the governing bodies of the organisations. As, we ideally want to avoid unnecessarily disrupting the businesses, unless directives are given by the State/Federal governments. Should the governing bodies deem it a necessary preventative measure, Weapons Licensing has no issue with this occurring. For those already planning on closing for the time being and for those who make the decision to close temporarily, it is requested that correspondence advising of this, is disseminated from the Clubs, to its members advising of the closure.
Incompletion of Required Participation Shoots for Concealable Licences – We have been advised that at the current point in time and due to the unknown timeframe of this situation, any licence holder who doesn’t fulfil their requirements of necessary participation shoots due to the situation, will be required to make a submission to the Authorised Officer of Weapons Licensing. This submission will need to include:
1. Detailed explanation of the situation, including reasoning for failure to complete participation shoots.
2. Any supporting documentation they may have to support them. This can include but is not limited to: any official advice from Clubs/Ranges, any medical reports/documents relating to the licence holder, any directives given by local councils/law enforcement/health services.
It is requested that any submissions made regarding failure to complete participation shoots be done at the conclusion of this financial year.
Number of Shooters attending at one time if the Club remains open – This again, we will leave to the governing bodies to decide, as every club will have a stark difference in available facilities, member numbers, available Range Officers, etc. Whatever limits/restrictions are imposed by the governing bodies for people attending the ranges, will be acceptable from our side of things, provided the normal safe practices are still adhered to.
General Risk Mitigation – For clubs that remain open, it is imperative that all normal safety and compliance standards are still adhered to. This includes range use, range officer supervision, range register completion, etc. If there are concerns that any of these practices may cause the spread of COVID-19, then unfortunately the governing bodies most likely need to look at ceasing activities, as most other industries are facing, until we have further government advice.
It would also be beneficial for all employees and attending shooters, if sanitation products are supplied and placed around the club/range areas (Hand sanitiser, disinfectant, etc). Another possible avenue to go down for risk reduction would be for an allocated person or two, to be assigned to disinfect each of the Shooting Positions once the current shooter finishes up. The same can go for any clubs that possess a Group Licence and are lending out Club guns for use at the range, once each shooter has completed their activities for the day, the weapons can be disinfected before it goes back into storage.
I would assume that there is still a number of unanswered questions not outlined in this email. Should any further enquiries need to be made, it is requested that this is done via email to [email protected] as due to the substantial number of members of Weapons Licensing now working from home as a preventative measure, Weapons Licensing’s phones will be unavailable for the foreseeable future. Once notice has been received for the phones to come back online, a follow up email will be sent advising of this.
All the best for everyone in these uncertain times.
Client Service Officer
Clubs, Ranges & Galleries
There seem to be many variants of what is and is not going to be allowed with respect to Cat H participation requirements.
Go here: - https://www.police.qld.gov.au/units/weapons-licensing , scroll down the News section, and you will find the current requirements, conveniently tabulated for the number of Classes you shoot.
I can see some legal action against them coming from this if they try to take peoples Handguns over lack of shoots this year.
All my shoots get covered in the first couple of months, but if i still needed to do shoots they’d be getting a request from my solicitor for written conformation that they are forcing me to act against the governments orders because unlike the rest of the states they are forcing me out into the public to complete their pointless requirements under potentially hazardous conditions, and forcing me to travel great distances due to the lack of open ranges.
A post was split to a new topic: Add state to username
The official, current response from QLD’s Weapons Licensing is:
"Please be advised:
In accordance with subsection 133(7) of the Weapons Act 1990, due to the Federal and
State Government’s directives to avoid all non-essential gatherings and travel resulting
from the emergent novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Weapons
Licensing is satisfied that Category H concealable firearms licence holders are duly
considered potentially “unable to comply with a relevant participation condition for the
year for reasons outside the licensee’s control” from the period commencing 1 March
2020 until 30 June 2020.
Please note, in accordance with subsection 133(8) of the Weapons Act 1990, this
decision is made on a basis of “whole calendar months, having regard to the period that
the authorised officer is satisfied the licensee is, or was, unable to comply with a relevant
participation condition for reasons outside the licensee’s control.”
In practice, this means that licensees will still be required to either have completed a prorated number of shooting competitions (detailed below) for the July 2019 to February 2020 period, or make a submission as to why they were not able to do so.
Therefore, the expected minimum number of participation shoots for the 2019-20 financial year is:
For one class: Four
For two classes: Five
For three classes: Eight
For Four classes: 10
Should further arrangements be required for the 2020-21 financial year, advice will be provided closer to that date."
We are working with senior staff at WLB towards a full exemption for the whole year; we’ve pointed out that most ranges are closed over the Dec/Jan period anyway and it’s too hot/humid to shoot outside in most of the state between November and March too, and that somoene who started now still has more than enough time (under normal circumstances) to get their required shoots in before the end of the financial year - and that there’s nothing in the legislation dictating when competition shoots must be undertaken.
Given the productive nature of the conversations we’ve had and the ever-changing situation the virus poses, we’re quietly confident there will be some changes to WLB’s stance in due course.
And here’s the clarification from WLB after some open and productive discussions at senior levels with them - the short version: Handgun shooters acting in good faith will NOT be penalised for being unable to make their required competition shoots.
While a submission (upon application for licence renewal) is required if a licence holder has not met these revised participation shoots, Queensland Concealable Firearms Licence Holders who act in good faith will not have adverse action taken against their licences for failing to complete their required participation shoots due to disruptions arising from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Weapons Licensing appreciates that licence holders complete their shoots at different times during the year, and that some licensees may now not be able to meet their required shoots.
Nothing against SU because as usual your efforts made a positive difference and are greatly appreciated, and while it’s a positive response compared to their last stance it’s still hardly a definitive answer, i mean what’s so hard about them just saying “Due to Covid no shoot participation requirements have to be met for 2019-2020”.
Because "Licence Holders who act in good faith will not have adverse action taken against their licences". Is the true definition of a politicians “i may choose to fuck you later” answer because who & what determines good faith?
For me it just reaffirms what a bunch of slimy buggers they really are.
I think this is too vague. Because their response so far is not in good faith, based on asking people to willingly expose themselves and other shooters to the virus, by going to the range.
So that statement, I think is very misleading, because the “who act in good faith” is very open to interpretation. At this stage, the ‘people interpreting’ is QLD WLB; and they clearly demonstrated bad faith. Therefore this definition is not aligned to what most people think is good faith.
I would seek clarity.