Ammo control regulations will be in force from Monday, sooner than expected after the uproar this week but in a revised and less contentious form.
“This government has in no way resiled from its commitment to new ammunition laws,” NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher said.
Gallacher promised they would still come into force from 4 March as original announced, and today the NSW Firearms Registry posted new details to explain how the regulations would work.
Outwardly, the regulations concerning ammunition purchases are essentially the same as previously mooted, and require all ammunition sales to be recorded in detail, including the name and address of the buyers and the type and quantity of ammunition bought.
However, the new announcement makes no mention of new requirements for firearm purchases or new Permits to Acquire, and appears to make it easier for owners of longarms to buy ammunition than would previously have been the case.
The regulations do not demand that a buyer prove he or she owns a firearm that takes the calibre of ammunition that is being bought, merely stating dealers must record the buyer’s “firearms licence or permit number … for a firearm that takes the type of ammunition”.
NSW firearms licenses merely state the category of firearms the holder may possess, so it would appear a dealer need only see that the buyer has, for example, a Category B licence in order to sell them almost any type of centrefire ammunition.
Details of the calibre would be held in records by dealerships, and police could subsequently check that the calibre matched firearms owned by the buyer.
The Act under which the regulations are created does not make it illegal to buy ammunition in a calibre that does not fit your firearms, but it does make it an offence for a dealer to sell you ammunition for anything but your own firearms; it also states the dealer must sight the registration papers.
Under the regulations, that requirement will only be applied to sales of handgun ammunition, effective from 8 April. handgun owners will be required to show a registration certificate or PTA for the particular firearm they are buying ammunition for.
It is expected that buying .22 rimfire ammunition will not be problem if you hold a category A licence, but centrefire calibres used in longarms and handguns, such as .357 Magnum, remain a grey area.
“The government has announced previously that it will defer the rollout of the requirement to show registration papers to other classes of firearms until the NSW police force has had the opportunity to investigate possible information technology solutions, such as smart card licences,” Mr Gallacher said.
As was announced earlier, a permit to buy ammunition on behalf of someone else will again be available for $30 to employees or business partners of firearm owners.
This will not necessarily be available to family members of primary producers or others who may live remote from gun shops and so have their family buy ammunition while in town for other reasons. However, the Commissioner of Police may grant permits to others if the circumstances are deemed appropriate.
The new regulations contain exemptions to ammunition sales recording requirements in situations involving shooting at club ranges by visitors or with club-owned firearms.