The Queensland Police Service have advised that category H licensees will still be required to either have completed a prorated number of shooting competitions for the July 2019 to February 2020 period, or make a submission as to why they were not able to do so when lodging a renewal application. However, they also say 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 the disruptions. Those unable to complete the adjusted amount of attendances should make a submission as to why they were not able to do so when lodging a renewal application. See adjusted requirements for Queensland.
New South Wales
SSAA NSW have been in regular contact with the Firearms Registry regarding the requirement of completing attendances. SSAA NSW have sought exemptions for all members at this time due to the escalating events regarding COVID-19. A decision is expected to be made shortly.
Victoria Police has told SSAA that as the impacts of COVID-19 continue to develop, the extent of future impacts on Category H attendance requirements is not fully known.
“We understand the impact this can have on clubs and licence holders, especially with the need to exercise social distancing,” said a Victoria Police spokesperson.
“Please be assured that discussions are being held at senior levels within Victoria Police’s Licensing and Regulation Division (LRD) to ensure that the best endeavours of licensees are considered.
“We are assessing our options at the moment and if we decide that a modification or exemption of current attendance requirements is necessary, we will advise accordingly.”
In South Australia, the Firearms Branch has applied a six-month exemption between March 1st and September 30th this year.
The branch said category H licensees should still supply information (relating to the number of shoots completed) to the Firearms Adjudication Section as per current procedure but no action will be taken if the required number has not been completed.
The Northern Territory Firearms Policy and Recording Unit said while the mandatory participation rates are governed by regulation and will not be altered, its office will not will not be taking any action on licence holders who fail to meet their minimum requirements for the rest of the calendar year.
The Western Australia Police Force Licensing Enforcement Division has advised firearms clubs to manage their members according to current social distancing protocol and Government recommendations and regulations. The Division said this may include affording members the opportunity to ‘catch up’ once the COVID-19 risk has been averted.
A spokesperson for the Tasmanian Police said a meeting was held earlier this week and it was agreed nationally that a reduction is justified. Most jurisdictions will be reviewing the requirements on 1 July to determine the impacts on social isolation at that time. A final position for Tasmania is expected to be formed in early July, 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 if social isolation policy continues after 1 July. 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. All Tasmanian Pistol Clubs have been advised of this situation and many have decided to close their ranges now that they have the certainty of reduced requirements. Licensees are still required to submit participation rate record cards for 2019.
The ACT Firearms Registry is considering requirements for Category H licence holders in light of changes made in the community due to COVID-19. At this time no changes have been made to existing licence requirements however they say they will continue to monitor the situation.