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Firearms changes 2017

Firearms changes – transition period now concluded
The legislated 12-month period provided from 1 July 2017 to support firearm licensees in transition to the new firearms legislation expired at midnight on 30 June 2018.

New firearms legislation came into effect on 1 July 2017. The underlying principles of the Act are to confirm the possession and use of firearms as a privilege conditional on the overriding need to ensure public safety. Improved public safety can be achieved by promoting the safe and responsible storage and transport of firearms and ammunition.

The Firearms Act 2015 and Firearms Regulations 2017 details responsibilities of firearms owners, and so it is important that every licensee or applicant makes themselves familiar with their obligations under the legislation.

The brochure Firearms Changes 2017 - What Do I Need To Know? has been sent to all licensees and summarises the key provisions of the legislation, including licence and firearms categories.

SAPOL has also produced the following information guides to assist you in understanding the effect of the legislation in key areas such as transitional provisions for current licence holders and security. The information provided in these documents are for general guidance only and are to be read in conjunction with the Act and Regulations as they do not detail all of the legislation changes.

You may need to complete one of the statutory declarations below:

Firearms licence holders are reminded that within 14 days you must give the Registrar written notice of a change of name or address or any other detail recorded on the licence to avoid a fine.

Find out how to notify the Registrar.

Information guides

Use this Quick summary guide (A3 poster) to see the steps to follow according to the number, category and location of your firearms. Further information guides are provided below.

Transition period

The following guide provides information as to how the transition from the Firearms Act 1977 to Firearms Act 2015 will affect you. It details action you may need to take to become compliant with the new legislation and timescales allowed for these changes.

Transitioning to the new firearms legislation

Security

The requirements for firearm security have changed significantly. Please see the following guides for information as to how the security changes will affect you.

A Quick summary guide (A3 poster) shows the steps to follow according to the number, category and location of your firearms.

Information guides specific to the number of firearms you have:

Storage of firearms – one to 19 firearms
Storage of firearms – 20 to 34 firearms
Storage of firearms – 35 to 49 firearms
Storage of firearms – 50 or more firearms
Transporting firearms and ammunition

Prescribed firearms safes for existing licensees

You may need to complete one of the statutory declarations below:

Collectors

It is important for collectors of firearms and ammunition to be aware of their obligations regarding possession and use of firearms in South Australia, as certain items are now covered by the legislation that were not previously. This guide is provided to assist collectors to understand the key related legislative changes.

Firearms collectors

Firearms clubs

A number of changes have been implemented to simplify some of the processes around becoming a recognised firearms club and accepting new members.

What do I need to know

This guide is provided to assist firearms clubs and club members to understand the key legislative changes contained in the Firearms Act 2015 and Firearms Regulations 2017 which commenced on 1 July 2017. This guide should be read in conjunction with all the provisions of the new legislation as it does not detail all legislative changes or legislation that has not changed.

You can find further information on the operation and effect of this legislation by accessing the various guides located on the SAPOL website at www.police.sa.gov.au/services-and-events/firearms-and-weapons.

Recognition of firearms clubs

The Firearms Act 2015 does not require the recognition of firearms clubs to be approved and gazetted by the Minister for Police. The Registrar of Firearms now may, on application, declare a firearms club to be a recognised firearms club by publishing such a notice in the Government Gazette. This ‘red tape’ reduction measure will simplify the process of recognition.

For a club to be recognised, it will be required to have at least five members and hold at least four meetings in a 12-month period. Some clubs maintain a small membership base. Firearms Branch will work closely with clubs in these circumstances and consider all options available within legislation.

Acceptance of new members

There has been an overhaul of the legislated process for acceptance of new members by firearms clubs (that are shooting clubs) to simplify and reduce the burden on club administration. The major changes include: other than for membership applicants who hold a category H licence or intend to use a category H firearm in the course of club membership, clubs are only required to check the probity of applicants with the Registrar where:

  • the applicant does not hold a current firearms licence, or
  • the applicant has not been issued with a written notification to undertake required training within the preceding 60 days, or
  • the applicant does not hold a notice issued by the Registrar within the preceding 60 days stating their fitness and propriety for membership
Approval of grounds of recognised firearms clubs

Approvals remain subject to basic conditions. The main changes are:

  • Where clubs have a company licence, they will be able to have secondary nominees appointed.
  • Club activities must be supervised by a nominee (principal or secondary), a member of the controlling body of the club or an authorised club member.
  • Clubs must report an incident involving the use of a firearm which affects or threatens a person’s safety to the Registrar as soon as reasonably practicable and provide a written report of the incident within seven days.
  • At any reasonable time the Registrar, a police officer or other authorised person can enter club grounds to inspect the grounds, any firearms on the grounds or any club records that are required to be kept.
Breach of conditions of approval of grounds of recognised firearms clubs

It is now an offence for a club to breach a condition of the club grounds approval. Offences carry a maximum penalty of $5000 or an expiation notice fine of $1250. Regulations 71 to 76 of the Firearms Regulations 2017 contain various expiation fees for breaches of club offences. These offences are still capable of being prosecuted, but they are now also capable of being dealt with by way of expiation.

Club Chits

Clubs/individuals are required to submit Club Chits for category C or H club use. There is also a requirement to submit chits for category A and B category activities if club use is the only authorised purpose of use on the licence.

Where can I find more information

The information provided in this document is for general guidance only. Applicants and licensees should familiarise themselves with the Firearms Act 2015 and the Firearms Regulation 2017 which are available at www.legislation.sa.gov.au. A suite of information guides on the legislative changes is provided on SAPOL’s website.

For further information, contact Firearms Branch via sapol.firearmsbranch@police.sa.gov.au or by telephone 7322 3346

Read more about Clubs and associations.

Shooting club members

The following guide is intended to assist sporting shooters in understanding how the new legislation will affect them.

Shooting club members

See also the Firearms clubs information guide.

Read more about Clubs and associations