Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Robert Borsak says NSW must revise its ban on adjustable rifle stocks after the NSW Police Force chose to harden its stand by stating even rifles with pinned stocks would be deemed prohibited.
The firearm at the centre of the issue is the Airmaks Krait FS air rifle, which has been deemed a prohibited weapon in NSW.
Sporting Shooter understands the Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle has also been prohibited in NSW for the same reason, and others may follow.
NSW has long outlawed folding and telescopic rifle stocks but has previously accepted that importers could convert those stocks to be compliant if they were altered so that adjustment was not possible.
However, it’s now understood that NSW police have taken the view that any rifle imported into Australia in a form that was non-compliant with NSW laws can no longer be modified to be compliant.
Mr Borsak has contacted the state’s Police Minister, Yasmin Catley, stating, “The whole issue of telescopic stocks needs review and updating.”
NSW Police indicated a review may be in the wings.
In response to questions submitted by Sporting Shooter, a spokesperson for the police said, “The NSW Registry has established a working party to review the process of firearm classification and the involvement of licensed firearms dealers in the assessment of firearms for import, acquisition and sale in NSW. The working party will include members of the firearm industry and other stakeholders.”
According to Mr Borsak, even when the importer of the Airmaks rifle “submitted a model which had been built with a different butt stock that cannot be adjusted, the NSW Firearms Registry declared the rifle prohibited”.
The Krait FS (FS for fixed stock) is listed as a different model from the standard Krait with adjustable stock.
The FS’s alternative butt uses an extension that is attached with a Torx screw instead of a thumb screw, and the extension has no facility to move without becoming detached completely from the main part of the stock.
The Ruger Precision Rimfire has for some years had its butt pinned by importer NIOA for NSW approval, and the method of pinning meant the stock would be broken if anyone tried to undo it.
A NIOA spokesperson said said they had been informed that the stock’s original status as telescopic was the problem but that the company was waiting for written confirmation before they could be certain.
Is this is the case, the police decision will affect many other firearms.
NSW Police told Sporting Shooter, “The NSW Registry has made no changes to categorisation of firearms with telescopic buttstocks that have been pinned.”
Police pointed to the two items of the Firearms Act 1996 they considered in relation to the issue.
Schedule 1, item 11, described a prohibited firearms as one “not being a pistol, fitted with a stock that is specially designed so as to be readily detachable, or to operate on a swivel, folding or telescopic basis”.
That may not necessarily apply to pinned stocks if it were not for Section 4 (2), which states: “any firearm that would be a prohibited firearm—
“(i) if it did not have something missing from it, or a defect or obstruction in it, or
“(ii) if it were not for the fact that something has been added to it,
“is taken to be a prohibited firearm” (emphasis added).
In other words, it appears that because the telescopic stocks have been altered, the police interpretation is that something is missing; or the movement has been obstructed; or that something has been added to prevent movement. Therefore the firearm must still be considered a prohibited firearm under the law.
It is not yet known how this might might be applied to rifles already registered and sold in NSW with pinned stocks.
The NSW law about telescopic stocks has long been contentious because it applies even if the telescopic adjustment cannot reduce the butt length to less than the legal limit.
At the same time, the use of spacers to alter butt length is perfectly legal under NSW law.
Mr Borsak expects to meet with the minister within the next fortnight.