So, You Want a Silencer - Simon Munslow Breaks Down the Process Part 3
WHY DO YOU NEED A SILENCER- GENUINE REASON
93. Some suggest every farmer can justify one, that the ‘flood gates are open’, this is not so. However, genuine farmers can justify them with some carefully crafted arguments covering problems they are experiencing.
94. I am not going into my arguments here, because as I am sure you can appreciate, every occupation has its secrets, and even a simple country lawyer deserves to eat!
95. To a professional pest shooter, the process is much easier, as it is an expedient tool. Registry can be expected to take steps to ensure that the business is a genuine one, with ‘real’ paying customers. There is a handgun case in Qld on this very point.
96. It would be extremely difficult for a recreational hunter to demonstrate that they ‘require’ a silencer. I have heard arguments based upon the land owner having to comply with pest control orders. However, that applies to the land owner and not to the recreational hunter.
97. In fact, while I would love to see such an argument succeed, it is hard to conceive (though one may exist) of circumstances where such an application is likely to succeed. The point being one has to be creative.
98. Mr Marando did not succeed in an application involving a very small urban fringe hobby farm block. The nature and extend of pest problems were not that great. It was, with respect to Mr Marando, a matter that was unlikely to succeed.
99. Given the extent of deer encroachment in some areas, I believe it may be possible to justify use of a silencer on these grounds in appropriate circumstance and I can think of a number of creative arguments here.
100. For the sportsman, the strongest argument is hearing damage.
101. This was the subject matter explored in an appeal heard in June 2018, that involved ClientA. ClientA has a degree of sensory neural hearing loss, and does not wish to see it further worsen. I gave The client a bit of assistance behind the scenes but have heard from a number of sources that he did an amazing job running it, with excellent evidence and argument.
105. His is potentially one of the best arguments that I have seen for a Silencer Permit by a recreational hunter. If you are a sporting shooter, I would hold off lodging a silencer application until the decision in this matter has been handed down by the Tribunal.
106. My reasoning for this is that in the United Kingdom, it was the hearing damage issue that led to changes to the law there, and if a silencer permit is given to a person to prevent further hearing damage, it is only a short, logical step to argue that one needs one to prevent hearing damage in the first place.
107. Your genuine reason is dealt with in a specific form, and I shall discuss this below.
108. CONSIDER- Silencers are prohibited. So, it is obvious that the Government does not want everyone to have one. Arguments that apply to everyone are therefore unlikely to work. The bar has been set high, though it is readily achievable by those with a commercial need. You must show that a silencer is not ‘desired’, ‘useful’ but ‘necessary’.
THE PROCESS- FORMS
109. Do a search on the internet for NSW Police silencer, this shall enable you to access relevant forms. They are best completed by computer anyway, because the forms are interactive.
110. I have not reproduced the Registry forms here because they are subject to Crown copyright.
- When completing the forms, it is important to be truthful and not also not exaggerate. Completion of a false declaration could lead to you being prosecuted, or at a minimum, lead to you being considered no longer to be a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold a firearms licence at all.
112. You need to lodge an Application for a Prohibited Weapons Permit- Silencer (P638) and a Genuine Reason form.
113. To complete the P638 form:
Indicate if it is a new application or reapplication on the form and add licence and permit numbers.
Section A. Permit type select from drop down list.
Section B Nominated person permit holder- add full name, date of birth, contact telephone numbers and email and supply details of nominated permit holder (business or individual)
Section C add residential address
Section D Add postal address and if it is the same as your residential address mark the box.
Section E. If application relates to business club or government agency add details
Section F Add safekeeping address. If it is the same as residential address select ‘Yes’ if not, select ‘No’
Section G answer each question regarding your personal history.
Section H Sign and date.
Section I Fee $127
114. P638 only had a facility added for it for ‘Recreational/ Sporting Purposes’ after the Shooters Fishers & Farmers Party raised this deficiency with the Registry
115. The Registry form still lacks a facility for Farmers, as these are not covered by any of the Business / Employment purposes listed which include only:
- Employee of government agency such as NPWS or Local Land Service
- Professional licensed contract shooter
- A person on behalf of registered pest control business needing one in course of employment
116. I raised this matter with the Firearms Registry and for the time being it is suggested that farmers tick the Recreational / Sporting purposes box and clarify the purpose in their application.
117. The Genuine Reason form I find usually has inadequate space to adequately set out reasons, so I usually suggest people attach a separate document simply adding ‘see attachment A’. If I prepare the Application I usually put attachment A in the form of a Statutory Declaration.
118. It deals with the type of material that I have discussed above under the heading ‘why do I need a silencer’.
119. Silencer applications are essentially decided on the basis of the ‘Genuine Reason’ form. because sound moderators are prohibited, the government does not want you to have one, so an argument that applies to everybody, and that would ‘open the floodgates’ is going to be hard to get approved. I believe ‘hearing loss’ here is our best argument, because this can be argued without threatening the entire prohibited weapons regime.
120. I offer an initial consultation of up to 1 hour for $250. If completing one of these forms I suggest you take advantage of this discounted initial consultation. Ring me, I shall take a full history and hopefully between us we can craft a winning argument. By the end of the hour I would hope to be able to send you a statement setting out reasons that you can attach to your Genuine Reason form.
121. You do not need to lodge an application for a Prohibited Weapons Permit (P638) and to possess a silencer and P634 in order to authorise fitting the silencer onto a firearm, because of changes in the Firearms Regulations 2017 that deem a permit to be held.
122.If you wish to apply for a firearm with a silencer the form is a P634.
123. If an employee is to use the silencer, a P639 needs to be lodged or if an employee is to be using a firearm with an integral silencer lodge a P635.
124. If the application relates to a business, a business declaration needs to be lodged.
125. If a firearm with silencer is to be used on a property that you do not own, specific consent to use a silenced firearm is required. Note this is covered by a specific consent form and not the general letter of Authority form. See Letter of Authority- Using a Prohibited Weapon with Silencer.
126. Other types of user such as a prohibited weapons dealer, theatrical armourer, collector or museum may require other types of permit via a separate process.
128. The minimum storage standard for a silencer is Level 2 storage. In other words, a pistol safe will suffice.
129. Full barrel silencers, are, like firearms fitted with other non-removable silencers, prohibited weapons all of the time, and they require Level 3 storage, which requires storage in a secure room that meets the following criteria:
- The area or room where the prohibited firearms are stored must be part of a permanent building with secure locks on all entrances.
- The area or room must have solid walls that provide a substantial barrier to forced entry.
- Any window or roof skylight in the area or room must be covered with a security grill or screen.
- Doors leading into the area or room must be made of solid material or be reinforced by steel.
- Each door must be fitted with a 'dead latch' type lock or be fitted with a hasp/barrel bolt and padlock.
- Door hinges must be concealed or the hinge pins must be welded to prevent them from being punched out.
- The firearm must be stored in the area or room in a locked steel safe of a type approved by the Commissioner and that cannot be easily penetrated.
- The safe must be bolted to the structure of the area or room where the prohibited firearms are authorised to be kept.
- Ammunition for any firearm must not be kept in the area or room in which the firearms are stored, unless the ammunition is stored in a separate locked container.
130. The application fee for the permit is currently $127.00
National Firearms Lawyer
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Simon Munslow is a lawyer who has a lifelong interest in shooting, having acquired his first firearm at the age of nine, and has had an active interest in firearms law since writing a thesis on the topic over thirty years ago at University.
Simon Munslow practices extensively in Firearms Law matters throughout Australia.
He is a regular contributor to the Australian Sporting Shooter magazine’s website on Firearms law matters, has published articles on firearms reviews and firearms law, and occasionally is asked to comment in the broader media on firearms matters.
This article is written for general information only and does not constitute advice.
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