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Firearms clubs

Firearms clubs are regulated and must comply with a number of requirements under the Firearms legislation.

Firearms clubs must be registered with South Australia Police.

If you are considering forming a new firearms club, first contact SAPOL's Firearms Branch.

Managing new club members

Obligation to report to police

Record keeping requirements

License renewal

Purchase of firearms for club use

Graduated access

Visitors

Managing new club members- Regulation 48

Before a recognised club grants new membership, an applicant must produce a current shooting club member's licence (changing clubs) or a letter from the Registrar issued within the preceding 21 days, stating the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a shooting club member's licence. Clubs may write to the Firearms Branch with a list of prospective members, their date of birth and address and request this information.

Applicants must produce 2 references to the club, signed within the last 21 days advising of good character, and suitability for membership. A club executive member must contact each of the referees to verify the contents of the references, and keep a record of the contact.

Potential new members to a club should be advised to apply at their local Police Station for a firearms licence or variation prior to commencing any training. The subsequent training notice from Firearms Branch will identify an applicant as a fit and proper to possess firearms.

Club instructors must sight this notice prior to commencing any training course. (Regulation 19.)

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Obligation to report to police


Firearms Act 1977 SA s21I(2) and s21I(3) places an obligation on members of recognised Firearms Clubs and/or employees and Commercial Range Officers and/or employees. To report to a police officer when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a person subject to a Firearms Prohibition Order, applies or has gained access or attempted to gain access to the grounds of a firearms club/range of the operator, as soon as possible after the suspicion is formed.

There is no civil or criminal liability where a report in good faith, in compliance with Firearms Act 1977 SA s21I(4).

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Record Keeping Requirements

Member's attendance should be recorded in a bound book and signed off at the end of each day by a club official. Reg 49 (As required by the Deputy Registrar). This may be in conjunction with other records of competition results and / or log books.

Records of members or visitors 'signing in' must be legible and be able to identify those individuals.

Records must be kept for a minimum of 3 years and must be produced for inspection when requested.

The information retained within the attendance register, along with the recorded outcome / scores for each match, will remain the clubs primary record source and may be used to verify any certificate forwarded to Firearms Branch for a licence renewal or other purpose.

The score / outcome records (to justify 'active' status), can be kept in any manner the club wishes as long as they can be provided to the Registrar when requested.

Some clubs use a log book method which they consider transfers some of the work load to the member. This can also be used when a member visits another club. Clubs can then issue a chit for renewal purposes after sighting the log book. The club should then keep the original log as the record of shoots, to be produced for inspection when requested.

ACTIVE MEMBER OF A CLUB - Class H only
Definition of ACTIVE, see section 5 (1)

Over the 12 month period of the firearm licence, a member must participate in 6 organised competitive shooting matches.

Additional Requirement - Condition of a licence. Reg. 21 (10)

A member must for each category of handgun registered, complete 4 club organised shoots.

Categories for handguns are;

  • Category a - Air or gas operated handguns,
  • Category b - .22 Rim-fire handguns,
  • Category c - Centre-fire handguns not more than .38 calibre, and
  • Category d - handguns over .38 calibre.

APPLICATION OF ACTIVE - for H class only

Club must keep records of:

  • Name of member
  • Dates of attendance in each category

Club chits should indicate;

  • Name of club, name of member,
  • That the person is an active member of the club,
  • Dates of shoots in each category, minimum requirements to identify 6 and 4 shoots.
  • Signed and dated by club secretary or nominated person

EXAMPLES

  • For a licence holder with handguns in one category only, a minimum of six organised competitive shooting matches is required.
  • For a licence holder with handguns that fit in two separate categories, a minimum of 8 recorded matches for recognised disciplines is required. (4 in one category and 4 in the other)
  • For a licence holder with handguns that fit in three separate categories, a minimum of 12 recorded matches for recognised disciplines is required. (4 in each)
  • For a licence holder with handguns that fit the four categories, a minimum of 16 recorded matches for recognised disciplines is required.
  • Where a member has no handguns registered, the member may complete 6 shoots in any combination of the 4 categories.

New licence holders should be aware that if they purchase their first handguns in the second 6 months of their licence they will need to comply with one of the first 2 dot points under this section.

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License Renewal

Where a club shoots longarms as well as handguns, the chit should reflect the active status of the member in each of those classes where the licence is endorsed with POU 1, even if other purposes of use are endorsed on the licence.

There is no requirement for a specific number of shoots to be completed to be considered 'active' for longarms, however attendance at one shoot is considered a minimum. Reg 21 (9).

For H class, club chits; 

  • Must reflect active status,
  • Must indicate dates of shoots in each category, (6 in one category, 4 in the others)
  • Must relate to the 12 months prior to the licence expiry date, and
  • Only recognised disciplines/matches on club program will be accepted,
  • Working bees, Christmas shoots and individual practice cannot be recognised.

All chits should be A5 or A4 size. This is a request only, not a legislative requirement but will aid in the handling of that information at Firearms Branch.

A club chit will be requested by Firearms Branch for the renewal of Class A, B or C licences endorsed with purpose of use 1 regardless of how many other purposes are endorsed on the licence (Section 12 and 19 allows the Registrar to ask for any documentation or certificates to support the issue of a licence or renewal.)

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Purchase of Firearms for Club use (POU1)

Club chits will be required to support all applications to purchase H class firearms for club use.

Club chits will not be requested for purchase of Class A firearms.

Chits will be requested for applications to purchase Class B firearms where POU 1 is the only purpose endorsed on the licence. A chit will not be requested if other purposes of use are endorsed for Class B.

A chit will be requested for C class shotguns for club use on every occasion.

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Graduated Access section 15A (4b)

Legislation now prohibits the purchase handguns within the first 6 months from the granting of a Class H firearms licence for club use.

For the second 6 months of a new Class H licence for club use, purchase is restricted to the following;

  • 1 air or gas operated pistol or a .22 calibre pistol or 1 centre-fire pistol or,
  • 1 air or gas operated pistol and 1 .22 calibre pistol or,
  • 1 air or gas operated pistol and 1 centre-fire pistol

This restriction does not apply to muzzle loading or percussion cap and ball handguns. Refer section 15A (4e).

The club secretary may keep the graduated access provisions in mind when issuing purchase chits however the Adjudication staff within Firearms Branch will monitor this aspect.

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Visitors

Exemption for unlicensed shooters on a recognised range under Section 11 (4)(b) no longer includes a person whose licence has been suspended, prohibited or cancelled by a Court, the Registrar or any other authority.

Visitors wishing to shoot at a club should sign a declaration on each visit stating they have not had a licence suspended cancelled or are otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms. This is NOT a legislated requirement but a suggestion only. (A sample declaration is attached.)

Photographic identification should be sighted and confirmation details noted.

Visitors without a personal Class H licence should have supervision while using handguns.

Members who have surrendered their personal Class H licence but have remained club members should, when wishing to use Class H firearms, be treated as visitors and sign a declaration stating that they are not subject to any court order or prohibition.

Clubs may permit visitors to use handguns registered to the club while under supervision, for practice or competition matches.

Remember, the loan of A, B or H class firearms for up to 10 days may only be made on a written agreement. There is no provision for loan on oral agreement. (Refer section 14 (3) (c) and 14A (3) (c).)

Note: If you visit a firearms club as a visitor you can be expected to complete a form and produce identification to verify your bona fides to use, carry or possess a firearm.

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