Queensland Silencer Case Note

Note: The use of the word silincer is used as this is how it is described in the legislation.

In RYDER v QLD Police Service Weapons Licensing (2018) QCAT 368 the Applicant James B Ryder (‘JBL’) the Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal considered an appeal against a decision by Queensland Police Services Weapons licensing (QPOL) rejecting a permit application for a silencer.

JBL operates a 900-acre farm and has a problem with pigs, wild dogs, fox and feral cats, and he had also sustained damage to hearing in his left ear from using firearms.

The Tribunal was informed that noise exposure above 140 db. causes permanent hearing loss. Firearms register noise up to 170db. So, they are capable of damaging hearing. Additionally, a firearm exposes the ear to damage from blast pressure.

The Tribunal accepted evidence that Personal Protection Equipment insufficient to attenuate noise below dangerous levels. This has been a moot point in many cases across Australia, with Tribunals accepting evidence from Police Officers, who have no experience with the use of firearms other than on the range, being accepted as competent witnesses in matters well beyond their competence as Policemen.

The Tribunal accepted audiological evidence, and considered the Work Health & Safety Act 2011, a position paper authored by Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, an article published in Western Criminal Review in 2007 on the use of moderators, a NSW Game Council report on their use, and the Biosecurity Act 2014.

The Tribunal remarked ‘although ultimately a matter for the legislatiure’, ‘the evidence suggests the desirability for continuing to include suppressors in category R may be questionable, especially when all of the other firearms in the category are military grade weapons’.

COMMENT: I believe that the Tribunal has here recognised for a change in the law, but, quite correctly, recognises that this needs to come from Parliament following legislative review.

The decision creates no precedent, but its existence adds weight to argument lobbying for change.

Given recent developments in NSW, the case highlights the point that Australia is a long way from having a national firearms regime.

Simon Munslow

National Firearms Lawyer
P: (02) 6299 9690
M: 0427 280 962
E: solicitor@bigpond.com
W: firearmslawyer.com.au

Simon Munslow is a lawyer who has a lifelong interest in shooting, having acquired his first firearm at the age of nine, and has had an active interest in firearms law since writing a thesis on the topic over thirty years ago at University.
Simon Munslow practices extensively in Firearms Law matters throughout Australia.

He is a regular contributor to the Australian Sporting Shooter magazine’s website on Firearms law matters, has published articles on firearms reviews and firearms law, and occasionally is asked to comment in the broader media on firearms matters.

This article is written for general information only and does not constitute advice.
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