Firearms Lawyer Simon Munslow answers your legal questions.

Loose Cannon: Unregistered Switch Barrels


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61 shares, 53 points

I am a keen Target Shooter in F Class competitior. I have over the last decade had 2nd calibre barrels (switch barrels) fitted by licensed gunsmiths to a number of my rifles, however these gunsmiths haven’t informed the NSW registry of the additional barrel calibres. This means my firearms licenses for these rifles aren’t up to date.

I have a number of Savage rifles with switch barrels. In the case of Savage, alternate barrels are freely available and can be fitted/switched by the owner as there is no need of a licensed gunsmith.

The problem is that there are probably hundreds of shooters in the same predicament as me.

Up until very recent times, a club armourer or gunsmith would change your barrel and give you back the old one, no paperwork involved, no registry notification.

I understand that each barrel has to numbered and in my case I would choose to have the receiver number used on each alternate barrel including a suffix a, b, c, etc.

In anticipation I have downloaded and completed the following forms for each:

NSW POLICE FORCE: FIREARMS REGISTRY

Fitting a New/Additional Barrel to a NSW Registered Firearm

This form is for use by a NSW Licensed Firearms dealer only

Vers 1.1 September 2013

Can you please advise how I can correct the situation outlined above and have these firearm licenses updated and processed?

 

You have pretty much answered your own question, as the form that you have found is the form that must be completed and lodged in respect to each barrel in your possession. This is completed by a dealer and then lodged with the Registry.

As you have got this far in respect to the solution to your problem, you are probably aware that under section 58 of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) it is an offence to possess a barrel for a firearm that you are not authorised by a license or permit to possess.

This is punishable by a maximum fine of 50 penalty units ($550) for a rifle or shotgun barrel and by a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment in respect to a handgun barrel.

Although of course, the bigger difficulty for a licensed shooter would not be the fine, but rather a conviction.

I suggest that as a starting point you go back to the gunsmiths who undertook the work and have them take corrective action.

Your second alternative is going to be to see another dealer and have the form referred to above lodged.

You may have some concern about the Registry taking action against you. They may potentially do so. However, you have no choice but to correct the Register by lodging the form, so do not delay taking action.

I cannot predict what if any action they will take against you, as that decision will rest with a person with an appropriate delegation.

If action is taken against you, let me know, as there are steps that can be taken that could help you avoid a conviction and loss of your licence.

However, there is no point worrying unnecessarily, and one hopes that your corrective steps shall occur without the Registry even becoming aware of the breach.

I do not think you shall have any difficulty with your proposal about numbering.

Simon Munslow

 

Please contact me if you have any questions about firearms law matters. solicitor@bigpond.com


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