Mark Banasiak
Mark Banasiak told parliament it was "obliged" to change "deficient legislation"

Suppressors: SFF moves closer to changing NSW law

NSW Parliament will vote next month on allowing shooters to more easily use suppressors, after the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party’s Suppressor Amendment Bill 2022 had its second reading this week. 

SFF MLC Mark Banasiak told parliament that suppressors — commonly referred to as silencers — are the preferred method of hearing protection for shooters according to the state’s SafeWork code of practice.

“If a noise risk cannot be eliminated, substituted, or isolated, then engineering controls are to be implemented before administrative controls,” he said in his second reading of the Bill. 

“Firearm suppressors are an engineering control, and should be adopted before administrative controls, that is, personal protective equipment such as ear plugs or earmuffs.”

The SFF’s proposed amendment to the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 would allow recreational and sporting shooters to apply for a permit for a suppressor based on the written recommendation of a doctor or audiologist. 

In NSW, suppressors are classified as prohibited weapons and, while it is theoretically possible under current legislation for a licensed shooter to obtain a permit to possess one, permits are rarely issued.

Until very recently, NSW almost never issued permits, although work by the SFF and others has resulted in about 240 permits being issued in the past few years.

Those have gone mostly to primary producers and professional pest animal controllers for business or employment purposes.

The Firearms Registry has strongly resisted efforts to have suppressor permits issued to recreational and sporting shooters.

Mr Banasiak said shooters were “prevented from accessing the best and most effective safety and hazard reduction technology because of deficient legislation” and told parliament that its members were “obliged to amend that defective legislation”.

He also pointed out that there is no evidence at all to suggest that suppressors are a risk to public safety or used by criminals.

The SFF has maintained a record of shooting murders going back to 2009 to support this position.

In all 56 recorded shootings, witnesses heard the shots, implying no suppressors were used, according to the SFF.




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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.