FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you’ve never tried shooting you may be thinking that it doesn’t offer that much variety. There’s a gun and a target, how different can that get? Actually, shooting offers a great deal of variety.
SSAA is the largest and most active/ comprehensive shooting organisation in Australia and manages more than 18 shooting competitions- commonly referred to as ‘disciplines’- at local, state, national and international levels. We cater to many different types of firearms, including shotguns, pistols, revolver and rifles in rimfire, centrefire, air and black powder configurations, as well as disciplines that combine several types of firearm categories.
Shooting is one of the few sports that encourages and caters for the participation of the young and old, males and females, able bodied and disabled. Sport shooting is also a family-oriented pastime and the SSAA recognises the importance of encouraging people of all ages into the recreation.
I’d like to try target shooting, what do I do?
The easiest way to find out if you like something is to try it for yourself. Under the heading Discipline information you will find a short description of the different types of shooting competitions we offer. Under our Branches you will find your nearest club. Give them a call and say you would like to give shooting a go, our clubs are always happy to introduce people to our sport. Our Clubs are run by volunteers and shooting is normally scheduled for weekends and perhaps one week night.
Do I need a firearms licence to try shooting?
No, you will be given a complete safety briefing and will be under the direct supervision of a qualified Range Officer or experienced senior member. SSAA enforces a strict policy of safety first. All shooting competitions and practice events are conducted under the close supervision of qualified and experienced Range Officers.
What do I need to bring?
Bring a current Drivers Licence or similar Photo ID
What should I wear?
Enclosed shoes are a must. No bare feet, thongs or sandals allowed. Pants are preferable over skirts for practical reasons and no low cut tops (hot brass down your top hurts). Dress for the conditions as most events are held outdoors.
Do I need any safety equipment?
You will need earmuffs; safety glasses are also recommended. These will usually be provided for you by the club.
How much will it cost?
Depending on the club and the type of ammunition you are using it can vary but most clubs will give you try for free.
Are children allowed to shoot?
Yes, however this is totally at the discretion of the Range Officer and Club. They must under the direct supervision of a licensed firearm holder and parent or guardian.
The SSAA encourages juniors to be involved in recreational shooting under the supervision of a licensed adult. We believe that participation in the shooting sports encourages a high level of discipline, responsibility and maturity in juniors.
Is there anything else I need to know before having a go?
Alcohol is prohibited. Additionally, please do NOT consume prohibited drugs or medication that will impede your judgement before shooting. Anyone considered to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be permitted on the range.
You MUST follow the instructions of the Range Officer at all times while on a SSAA WA Range, failure to do so will result in you being asked to leave.
I’ve had a go and loved it, what do I do now?
Congratulations, you have made a great decision! Join your club and see below for details on applying for your firearms licence, it may sound confusing but your club will guide you through this process.
APPLYING FOR A FIREARMS LICENCE
Following is a guide to obtaining a Firearms Licence (excluding handguns or Cat C firearms).
IMPORTANT: The information provided below is NOT legal advice, and is only provided as a guide. If you require more information regarding your specific case or circumstances, please contact Police Licensing directly on 1300 171 011.
1. Establish your Genuine Reason.
Generally speaking there are only two commonly used genuine reasons for having firearms in WA.
Hunting / Destroying livestock / Vermin control
Club use or Recreational/ Sport Shooting
Each genuine reason requires its own paperwork for the licensing process.
If you want a firearm for livestock or vermin control you will need to be a property owner or have a ‘letter of support’ from a property owner. The size of the property and game will determine the maximum calibre you will be able to license. For more information on what you can license on your property contact WAPOL Firearms branch. This is what is known an “Open License” as it does not strictly require you to shoot regularly during the year.
If you are a recreational club sporting shooter you will need a ‘letter of support’ from a shooting club. Each shooting club is different and all will require you to be a financial member for a period of time before writing you a support letter.
This licence type is known as a “Club Support” licence and will require you to remain a financial and active member of a shooting club in order to keep your firearm licence. Your club will help you with the steps required to obtain your licence as well as advise you on what type of firearm that will be suitable for you to purchase.
Once you have determined what type of firearm you are able to licence your next step is to purchase a firearm.
2. Purchase a firearm (Deposit only)
When you purchase a firearm from a dealer you will be supplied with a Serviceability Certificate. This certificate contains the details of the firearm you have purchased and will be used in the licensing process. Please note; you will not be able to take the gun out of the store until you return with the firearm stated on your licence.
Second hand firearms
If you are purchasing a second hand firearm you will need to have the firearm sent to a dealer so that they may write you a serviceability certificate and store the firearm until you have your licence.
3. Complete the Firearms Awareness Test
The firearms awareness test is a multiple choice test and will be carried out by your shooting club or by a registered firearms dealer. Please ensure that you have read through the WA Police Firearms Safety Booklet before sitting the test. You will be issued a Safety Awareness Certificate after successfully completing this test; you will need this to send in with your application.
4. Obtain a support letter from your club or property owner
Once you have a serviceability certificate you take this back to your club, they will then issue you with your “Letter of Support”. There is a Property Letter form on the WAPOL website for the property owner to complete as support for an open licence.
5. Application for Firearms Licence
Now that you have:
Genuine reason paperwork (either as letter of support from your club or a letter from a property owner)
Firearms safety awareness certificate
You are ready to fill out your application form. You can download this from the WAPOL website. Once completed and validated you will then print the document to take to the post office to pay the fee and submit the application to licensing. Don’t forget to take 100 points of ID to the Post Office.
Once you have submitted your application at the post office you can use this time to organise a gun safe. The licensing department will contact you a few weeks after submitting your application requesting a Statutory Declaration 22 Form with detailed photos of your storage safe. You can either email or post these photos back to licensing. Check the WAPOL website for up to date storage requirements and regulations. Your ammunition is required to be stored in a separate approved locked container. Police also have the authority to inspect your storage facility at any time.
How long will it take to get my licence?
There is no set time and it depends on various factors such as information provided and category of firearms. There is a mandatory 28 day cooling off period before your licence starts to be processed.
7. Picking up your firearm
Once you have your license you can go back to the dealer to pick up your firearm. Please note it is a requirement by law you must carry your paper licence and firearm extract card on you at all times when you are conveying your firearm or intending to purchase ammunition.
How do I Purchase Additional Firearms?
For an additional firearm licence the above steps apply, minus the safety awareness and usually the storage paperwork. The 28 day cooling off period also doesn’t apply to additional applications.
APPLYING FOR A HANDGUN LICENCE
The process for obtaining a licence for a handgun is as follows:
1. Membership. Join a handgun/pistol club. After being a member of a pistol club for at least 6 months, members may apply to licence a pistol. The club you join will hold different matches, which will allow you to apply for certain firearms/calibres depending on these matches. To find the club nearest you go to our branches page of the website.
2. Complete a safety awareness test.
3. Choose/purchase a handgun.
4. Obtain the serviceability form. This is a form that a dealer can complete and sign once they have the handgun in their possession. It is a form that identifies the firearm you wish to licence (with its serial number, etc.)
5. Obtain Club & SSAA WA Support Letters.
You take the serviceability certificate to your club and ask for a support letter. You also need to have a SSAA WA support letter for handguns. With your club support letter and your SSAA WA support letter, you can then complete the application.
5. Complete an online application (original).
6. Submit the Application. You then take all of this paper work to the post office with 100 points of ID. This is where you submit the application. It is now a matter of waiting for correspondence from Police Licensing.
7. Statutory Declaration 22 Form. If your application is successful, you will need to show evidence of storage - I.E. Show them you have a safe and it has been fitted. Police Licensing will send you this paper work.
HUNTING IN WA
What can you hunt in WA?
Hunting in WA is limited to taking feral and pest animals on private property with the landowner’s permission.
Only a current “open” firearms licence is required to hunt on private property. There is no hunting permit or fee applicable. The following animals are some of the feral species that can be regularly taken in Western Australia: Rabbits, hares, foxes, pigs, wild dogs, goats, camels, donkeys, wild horse and wild cattle.
The SSAA Farmer Assist program has been developed to enable farmers with wildlife management issues to seek the assistance of members. SSAA members who participate in this program have all achieved a skill competency equivalent to professional shooter training and have committed to operating under a code of practice that demands safety, animal welfare and ethical behaviour.
We also have Hunting and Conservation Groups click here who work with the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Department of Agriculture and Food WA, Recognised Biosecurity Groups, Catchment Councils and declared species groups to provide assistance with pest animal control programs.
Our Hunting and Conservation Clubs have stringent training and assessment programs for applicants. There are various Clubs around WA, to find out more about this program go to our Conservation and Wildlife Management and the Branches pages of the website.
Can I bring a firearm into WA for a hunting holiday or competition?
Anybody travelling to WA with firearms will require a Temporary WA Firearms Permit. These can be found on the WAPOL Firearms Forms web page, group permits are free while individual permits incur a fee. Make sure you apply well ahead of time as they do take some time to process. This permit must be kept with you at all times during your stay in WA and you can purchase ammunition with this temporary permit from any dealer in WA.
Sending Firearms via Australia Post
State firearms laws restrict anyone from sending a firearm, or any prohibited item to your home address. The law requires the transfer of the firearm from a licensed firearms dealer to another licensed firearms dealer close to you. You then go to your nominated firearms dealer and collect the firearm via the normal firearms transfer process in your State.
Australia Post do not accept ammunition, powders, aerosols or primers
No-one wants to spend thousands of dollars buying a firearm to potentially have it destroyed during shipping. Or even have their firearm damaged when moving interstate or on the way to that once-in-a lifetime hunting trip. If you are using Australia Post, shooters should consider taking ‘Extra Cover’. ‘Extra Cover’ is insurance you can place on Australia Post packages valued up to $5000 for an extra $1.50 per $100 of package value. Unfortunately, ‘Extra Cover’ is not well advertised and doesn’t seem to be offered unless requested.
Flying with firearms or ammunition in Australia
For the attention of competitors in international and national competition who may be travelling with firearms and/or ammunition.
All airlines have procedures and requirements for flying with firearms. Firearms and ammunition are classed as Dangerous Goods, for full details, check the relevant airline’s dangerous goods section.
In all cases firearms and/or ammunition must be carried in accordance with the regulatory requirements of the State or Territory you are travelling to or from.
VIRGIN Australia Click here for Virgin Australia details
Advice for Writing Articles and Using Shooting Photographs for Publication
Please consider the advice contained within the PR Guidelines when taking photo's and writing to the media
Tips for writing to Politicians
Appropriately address the representative you are writing to.
Include your full name and address. Politicians pay more attention to people who live in their electorate.
Be concise. Keep your letter short by raising only one or two key issues. Politicians receive many letters, so do what you can to make yours one that they will have time to read.
Ask a question on issues that require a personal response. Be clear on the action you want taken and make sure it is an action the politician can actually do.
Do not make speeches or offer opinions.
Make your letter original. It is better to use your own words than to use a template or form letter.
Request a response to your letter. Their response will usually be a form letter, but you will know that your letter has been seen.
Personalise your letter. If possible, include a personal story or information on how the issue affects you, your family, your business or people around you.
Mention your membership of the SSAA if you wish, but please do not use the SSAA logo on your personal correspondence. Remember that you are expressing your own views.
Personalise your relationship. If you have ever voted for the representative, contributed time or money to their election campaign or have met them, say so.
Be polite but don’t be afraid to take a firm position. Do not get aggressive or use abusive language.
Express your thanks. It is important for politicians and political parties to be able to share that they have been helpful or successful in their work.
Tips for using Social Media
There’s a lot of research that says you won’t change anyone’s long held belief on Facebook, BUT you can challenge their belief that we are all the stereotypical violent criminals they presume we are.
Never threaten, name call, or abuse an opponent on social media when speaking about our sport, it makes you look like an idiot and confirms their already low opinion of us. State a few facts, keep it short, and then elect to stop notifications.
Activist groups are using Facebook and Twitter as a call to action for their supporters and to spread their negative messages. As responsible shooters, we can use these very same mediums to combat negative stereotypes or perceptions by presenting a positive picture of shooting and hunting.
It’s great to be passionate about shooting and hunting and to share this with friends and followers, but commonsense and careful consideration of what we post should prevail when sharing a photo or information about our sport and chosen pastime
Although words can send powerful statements, photographs can also convey the right or wrong message and are much more likely to be seen.
Simple guidelines when posting photos are being mindful of the position of the animal and how much blood is visible, even moving the animal away from the blood trail or photographing it from a respectable distance to avoid focusing on blood.
Make sure the firearm is always pointed away from the camera and in a safe direction from the photographer and others present.
We strongly advise against pointing the barrel at the camera as it’s unsafe to do so.
Shooter’s Social Media Posting Checklist
Does my photo contain unnecessary graphic detail; eg, excessive blood?
Is the firearm pointed away from the camera and towards a safe location?
Should individuals in the photo be wearing protective clothing?
Should I conduct a personal heated conversation about my chosen pastime with an activist online, or should I take it offline?
Is my comment offensive or a personal attack, or is it a fair and balanced response to criticism?
Am I presenting the shooting sports or recreational hunting in the best possible light?
Are my privacy settings correct so no unwanted eyes can view my personal information or photos?