This is NSW Police’s new approach on firearm storage
by those with ‘limited mobility’ and home carers:

Extract of correspondence from NSW Police to Patrick, a wheelchair shooter

Please understand what discrimination is

ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS about shooting is equality.

Men, women, old, young, able-bodied and the disabled can compete on a level playing field – and without questioning ability.

However, the NSW registry seems to disagree with that idea. Instead, it has seen fit to dictate to at least one wheelchair shooter what he is and is not physically able to do.

Based on assumptions.

Telling wheelchair shooters what they can and can’t do

Patrick (not his real name) is a pistol shooter at the Sydney St Mary’s range. He has had his pistol licence since 2016 and enjoys his shooting and is always trying to better his own scores.  Just like the rest of us.

In fact he hopes to eventually get into competition shooting on a regular basis. However unlike able-bodied shooters, the registry has decided that because he is in a wheelchair, he can ONLY store his pistol at his range and is not allowed to bring it home.

Pat has a rare type of brittle bone disorder that confines him to a wheelchair.   His treating Professor (of Genetic Medicine) has written in a medical report supporting Patrick that he is “pleased that [Patrick] has been able to achieve considerable independence”

The professor also noted that he:
“strongly supported the flexibility which would be awarded by his being able to store the firearm at home”

and noted that Pat:

“took up target shooting because given his disability it gave him considerable confidence to be able to attempt to excel in this particular activity”

Previous internal review

This is not the first time Pat has raised this with the NSW Police.

In 2016, the police determined he is required to store his firearms at the range. The reasons were petty. In one instance, they cited the fact that in 2001, his wheelchair skidded and he crashed into a car. They used that event as a basis for supporting this following statement:

Pat had only just taken up shooting so ran with it at the time. However now he wants to store his gun in the same way that other shooters do.

To be clear, Pat has broken no laws. He has never charged with, or even questioned about, his ability to use or store a firearm safely. 

Stopping prejudice

The way the Registry has jumped to conclusions about Pat makes us angry.   He has not committed any offences and there is nothing that suggests he is not able to comply with the law. His only issue is that he is in a wheelchair, which raises real questions about how NSW Police go about making their assessments.

There are no two ways about it: NSW Police needs to find a better way to treat disabled shooters.

They have not bothered to take the advice from mobility experts, or get advice of their own. Instead they have relied on assumptions, which is is an extremely risky thing to do.

NSW Police needs to develop a policy to avoid this – with the groups affected by their decisions like Disability Sports Australia and ourselves.

In fact, we gave NSW Police Minister, David Elliott, a heads up on Pat’s story, urging him to initiate a review into this and the broader policy environment of the NSW registry in the interests of “fair & good outcomes”. We have not heard back from his office.

NSC files at NCAT

When Patrick first contacted the NSC, we encouraged him to start the process that would enable us to have this matter fought in NCAT by lodging a request for internal review.  This would bring the issue out into the open where we can get answers to the questions that we know many of you have.

The 21 days for the internal review passed with no response from FAR which resulted in us filing at NCAT in early July. Our barrister has been briefed, and we’re ready to go. Interested parties who may wish to be part of this matter are welcome to let us know by clicking here.

We’ll obviously let you know how we go.

… and yes, we are looking at the application of anti-discrimination laws…

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11 thoughts on “NSWPol restricts gun storage for wheelchair shooters

  1. Brett Beesley says:

    I have been in a wheelchair for 25 years. I am also quite the firearms enthusiast. If it was not for the fact I have my firearms at home and can go for a shot whenever I want then I do not know what I would do. My hunting and shooting keeps me in great condition which is a major necessity for someone with a spinal cord injury.
    I will be watching this case very closely. I am a member of the NSC and if I can help in anyway please contact me.

  2. Jonathan Laird says:

    Another insulting decision from the tin pot dictators in NSW.
    I look forward to a positive outcome. Thanks for taking this on NSC

  3. Keith H. Burgess says:

    I think a lot of gun owners have tunnel vision, they need to start thinking out of the box. Our corrupt government has no intention of even trying to mitigate climate change. Within the next three decades or so we are likely to experience teotwawki, this is likely to produce a Dystopian society ruled over by a totalitarian government. So there is going to be a continuing push to relieve us of all guns & other weapons. There is already an anti-self defence law in place, it is illegal for any Australian to own anything that is purposely intended for use in self defence. We already know that it is an offence to use a gun to defend one’s self or family from a violent armed home invasion. Gun owners & gun organisations need to start fighting back HARD, & try & get back what we have lost, not just try & hang on to what is left. Even matchlock, wheellock & flintlock pistols are on a restricted license & can only be used on an approved gun range!!! Now water pellet toy gel guns are classed as firearms, this is beyond the pail!!!
    Keith H. Burgess
    Wychwood Forest.

  4. Sharron Stevenson says:

    NSC you have to win this one, PLEASE. I am disabled and have been through not fault of my own, car accident 30 years ago. For the last 25 years have been a sporting shooter and love it SHOOTING is INCLUSIVE. NSW Police don’t start pointing fingers……..

  5. David M says:

    “… and yes, we are looking at the application of anti-discrimination laws…” This could be fun to watch as people talk themselves into a corner.

    Keith H. Burgess, what you’re seeing is politicians, who expressed loyalty to preconceived ideas within a political party to rise in its ranks, in front of witnesses, imagine someone else’s bio-warfare agent conforms with those ideas. That’s as dumb as it sounds. Police keep saying criminals do stupid things, they say it so often it’s boring. Yet it’s true.

  6. Alan says:

    Keith said it in a nut shell saying criminals do stupid things what he should have said our police and governments do stupid things unfortunately the people with the voting power do stupid things as well like not voting the criminals out of power who are turning out to be the worst criminals then half those in jail and this is going on in all states tell you what have a look at some of the old movies they make like Blade runner and then look at what is going mon around the world no wonder the Chinese have gotten a good foot hold on the world just my two bobs worth keep up the good work NSC

  7. Mike+Adler says:

    Precisely why I am a member of the NSC. You know, you don’t have to always agree with everything every single shooting organisation stands for, but it pays to belong. Hence why I am a member of a number of shooting orgs. Who else would be in there fighting for the rights (yes I said it!), the rights of shooters in this country. I call it a right because you need a good legal reason to take my firearms off me, just like this gentleman has a right not to be discriminated against in his chosen sport. If I meet the criteria, I have that right. What the government is doing and empowered by ridiculous proposals by the police LRD is alter that criteria so they can discriminate. It’s like licences. there isn’t much stopping these maniacs raising the cost of one a 1000 fold. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.

  8. James says:

    If you own a firearm you are a criminal, that is the mindset of the anti gunners, police and most political parties, many years ago one party put out a report where they considered the removal of all guns from all civilians was needed so they could be controlled in time of crises. Let your mind run wild on that one.

    • David M says:

      “one party put out a report where they considered the removal of all guns from all civilians was needed so they could be controlled in time of crises.”

      Any references on that one? Particularly whom and the year (before, during or after 1987). I would also be interested in what State (particularly NSW). If it’s just your memory please say so.

  9. luke simon says:

    With each passing day, the progress to a police state in Australia is gaining momentum. I would urge all shooters to abandon the SSAA ( who essentially do NOTHING for shooters in trouble), and get behind the NSC. At least the NSC has an interest and cohesiveness that the SSAA has never has, nor do I believe will ever have. Put your money into the NSC instead. A party that gets things done for shooters.

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