Ammunition limits

Leaked email confirms police are discussing ammunition limits

Northern Territory Police appear to be developing ammunition possession limits, according to an e-mail communication seen by Shooters Union Australia and shared with Sporting Shooter that also suggests other states are working towards the same goal.

The author of the e-mail, apparently the head of the NT Police Force’s Firearms Policy and Recording Unit, expresses concern at media coverage over the ammunition limits issue and notes “We are being asked the question as to why we haven’t put limits in place”.

However, they do not specify who is asking the question or why their thoughts on the subject matter.

“Other jurisdictions have also been asked the same and I believe most are working towards implementing some kind of limits,” the author says.

The author says they are not “involved in these industries or shoots” which, if true, raises the question of why someone with no apparently connection to the shooting pursuits or industry is in charge of firearms policy and registration at the NT Police.

The author proposes the following limits on the quantity of ammunition a shooter in the NT should be able to possess based on the genuine reasons under which the firearms licence is granted:

  • A&B shooter – 1000 rounds per calibre of firearm owned
  • Sports shooter – 10,000 rounds per calibre of firearm owned (the e-mail’s author asks, “is that excessive, how much would one reasonably need for a competition shoot?”)
  • Primary production – 5000 rounds per calibre of firearm owned
  • Animal control – 5000 rounds per calibre of firearm owned
  • Business or employment – 500 rounds per calibre of firearm owned
  • Occupational requirement – 500 rounds per calibre of firearm owned
  • Instructors – 10,000 rounds per calibre of firearm owned
  • Dealers – no limit
  • Ammunition retailers – no limit
  • Ammunition collectors – no limit

The author says they do not want to propose anything that becomes too restrictive for people with a genuine need for large amounts of ammunition based on their licence type. 

“However, any limit set could be increased with a letter from the holder outlining that genuine need for more. 

“I believe we, as a group, should be able to nut out what would be a reasonable amount of ammunition to be possessed.

“Nothing I have written above is set in stone by any means, nor is that list exhaustive. I am genuinely interested in your thoughts on how this could be best achieved and what you think would be a reasonable limit.”

Shooters Union Northern Territory representative Bradd Linsley said he found it infuriating the police were, in effect, “making up laws” for problems that don’t exist. 

“We elect representatives who serve on various legislative assemblies — not unelected bureaucrats — to make laws,” he said.

However, the email’s author points out that firearm law in the NT “appears to attempt to comply with the NFA through Section 13(1)(d) of the Firearms Act”.

That clause talks about ammunition limits that could be “authorised in writing by the Commissioner” but this has never been acted upon. 

Mr Linsley questioned the need and efficiency of imposing limits.

“How and what resources would be needed to check and enforce this? Surely police time would be better spent on the out-of-control criminal activity in Darwin and Alice Springs as well as the ice epidemic in the NT rather than as amateur accountants counting rounds of ammo.”

Mr Linsley pointed out there was no legal requirement for the NT — or indeed any state or Territory — to comply with the National Firearms Agreement, and it was a necessity for shooters throughout the Territory to purchase bulk ammunition when they were able to, due to costs, supply issues and onerous restrictions on the shipment of dangerous goods.

“Save for a handful of suburbs in Darwin the NT is a bloody remote place,” he said. 

“With the loss of most ammunition manufacturing in Australia, shooters and club members have no choice but to buy in bulk to make it affordable, and protect themselves from the very apparent efforts to restrict the distribution or transportation of ammunition outside a populated city. 

“It does seem as if [the e-mail’s author] is at least looking at some reasonableness but I don’t believe there is any place for limits on what you have for a gun you’ve already jumped through the hoops on.”




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Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.