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Shooting in Australia is controlled by a series of State Acts of Parliament. Despite efforts by the Howard Government to get the same laws in all States there are some variations.
In NSW, shooting is controlled by the Firearms Act 2006 and Firearms Regulations 2006 (as amended). The Act and Regulations are administered by the NSW Firearms Registry whose responsibilities include the approval of Ranges, the issuing (and withdrawl) of licences and the recording of registered guns held by licenced shooters.
The Firearms Registry has an excellent website and new shooters are urged to view it.
A fact sheet titled ‘Information on obtaining a Firearms Licence in NSW’ is a good starting point. There are two fundamental elements involved in obtaining a rifle.
Firstly the shooter must posses a Firearms Licence.
Secondly a permit to purchase a particular type of rifle is needed.
The latter, of course, will not be issued without a Licence first being issued. Application Forms for a ‘Permit to Acquire’ are available from the Buffalo Rifle Association of Australia’s Secretary.
The main requirements to be met when obtaining an individual Licence in NSW are:
you must be a NSW Resident;
you must be 18 years old or over (minors can use a rifle if issued with a minors permit, but are not permitted to own one);
completion of a firearms safety and training course (details of suitable training courses can be obtained through BRAA);
confirmation that you are able to meet the safe storage requirements of the rifle and ammunition you buy;
You must be a fit and proper person to be trusted with a rifle without presenting a danger to public safety.
You cannot, for example, get a Licence if you have had a criminal conviction within 10 years or if you are subject to an AVO or good behaviour bond.
Finally, and perhaps most critically, you must be able to prove that you have a genuine reason for possessing a firearm.
Membership of the Buffalo Rifle Association is a genuine reason, providing you keep up the prescribed number of uses per year.
In order to join BRAA you must also be a Member of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) to ensure that you are insured when you shoot.
Having attained a licence, the next step is to buy a rifle. Once you have found the one you want, application is made to the Firearms Registry for a Permit to Acquire.
There is a 28 day Cooling Off Period with your first rifle but not for subsequent ones. All rifle purchases must go through a Licenced Dealer so your purchase will need to be delivered to the Dealer of your choice who will transfer it into your name.
Again the Buffalo Rifle Association of Australia can advise on the selection of a suitable dealer. Once your rifle is delivered then it is a matter of loading your ammunition and attending the Ranges and learning to use it safely and well.
Please note: This explanation is only a brief outline. The full detail of how to comply with the Act and Regulations must be obtained from your State Firearms Registry.