Mandatory pistol shooting attendance

Lack of ammo threatens mandatory attendance requirements

Lack of ammunition is jeopardising shooters’ ability to meet the mandatory minimum number of shoots required to retain competition licences, to the point where police in some cases have announced they may go easy on those affected.

In Victoria, the Licensing and Regulation Division (LRD) has said that those “who have genuine reasons for not meeting participation can make an application for Modification (Variation) or Exemption from Handgun participation”.  

“It is acknowledged that there are currently some difficulties in obtaining reloading components, and in some cases ammunition,” the statement said. 

However, it also said there was “an expectation that handgun owners will meet their participation obligations” regardless. 

Handgun shooters are currently the ones most affected by ammunition and component supply issues, and they are required under the conditions of their Target-class handgun licences to complete a minimum number of shoots every year. 

Shooters Fishers and Farmers MP Jeff Bourman said he had been discussing the issue with the LRD and said police would allow Victorian competitions to be adjusted so that less ammunition would be required at each attendance.

“Clubs will be notified by LRD shortly of modifications that may be made to reduce the number of shots required for competitions,” he said.

LRD has said any modified shoots would still need to be “meaningful competitions (not a single round, nearest the bullseye etc)”. 

The situation has brought mandatory attendance under the spotlight again, after police around Australia reduced them during COVID restrictions.

Many shooters are calling for them to be dropped altogether.

Peter Heggie, the South Australian coordinator for the Shooters Union, said the situation under COVID demonstrated that “mandatory attendances serve no purpose and should be dropped permanently nationwide”.

The Shooters Union has previously called for NSW to drop its mandatory-attendance requirements for longarms shooters, saying it is the only state in NSW that has them.

Victorian shooters applying for variations or exemptions for their handgun shooting requirements will be considered on an individual basis by LRD.

“If you have genuine reasons and intend to submit an application, don’t wait until the last minute,” advises Mr Bourman. 

“Be proactive, get it in early and be sure to outline the number of attendances you’ve already completed so far this year. 

“Sending LRD something in September with zero evidence of an effort to participate up to this point is unlikely to yield a positive modification outcome. 

“Keep up your attendances as much as possible until you hear back from LRD.”

The emption form can be found on the Victoria Police website




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.