REGULATED IMITATION FIREARMS
On 1 October 2009 the Government introduced changes to Firearms Regulations 2008, which brought 'imitation firearms' within the firearms regulatory scheme. In effect, these changes made imitation firearms a firearm of the class they imitate for purposes of the Firearms Act.
The changes were made because of an increase in the sophistication of imitations to a point where little modification may be required to bring them to a fully functioning live-firing state and an increase in the use of imitation firearms in criminal activity.
In response to this trend, SAPOL spent approximately 18 months developing the Regulations introduced on 1 October 2009. International and interstate policies were examined and considered before the Regulations were settled on.
However, the Regulations were disallowed by the Legislative Council on 2 December 2009. New Regulations have been drafted coming into effect on 17 December 2009.
Under the new Regulations, an imitation firearm is an item that contains a mechanism that imitates the 'loading' and 'firing' mechanisms of real firearms, or which imitate the receiver of a real firearm (all of which are already defined in the Firearms Act) will be captured by the Regulations. These items will be referred to as 'Regulated Imitation Firearms'.
This was the intent of the original Regulations and does not expand or reduce the types of items from those captured under the disallowed Regulations. Children's toys and novelty items were not captured by the disallowed Regulations.
These replacement regulations will make it easier to assess and make decisions regarding imitation firearms.
Persons who wish to possess regulated imitation firearms are required to demonstrate a genuine reason for possession of the regulated imitation firearm, obtain an appropriately endorsed firearms licence, register the regulated imitation firearm, and meet the required storage and probity standards.
For further information, contact SAPOL Firearms Branch, telephone (08) 7322 3346.