HANDGUN OWNERSHIP The process of purchasing a handgun can seem a little daunting at first but the rewards of participating in club matches and enjoying fellowship with other like minded enthusiasts makes it all thoroughly worthwhile. Unless you have special dispensation as an agricultural worker, pest eradicator or security guard then the only permitted reason for owning a handgun is for club competition use. Under the WA Firearms Act this requires the club to agree to support your handgun ownership and monitor that you are meeting the minimum participation and safety requirements. If you fail to meet these requirements then the law requires the club to withdraw your support. You will then need to sell your firearms or hand them into the police before they are taken from you. Prior to purchasing your first handgun you must have successfully completed the club ‘Handgun Safety Induction Course’. You must also have been a financial member of both the club and either the West Australia Pistol Association (WAPA) or the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) for at least 6 months. While waiting out the 6 month probationary period you will be able to hire club handguns enabling you to compete in club organised matches. Prior to purchasing your first handgun you must have participated in at least four calendared matches shot under club Range Officer supervision. Your level of participation and standard of safety will be monitored after which the club committee will either approve or disapprove to support your first handgun purchase. A maximum of 2 handguns can be applied for at 6 months being either: 1x Air pistol and/or 1x Rimfire or 1x Centrefire You are encouraged to think carefully about which discipline or disciplines you would like to compete in and then purchase a gun which will be competitive in those discipline/s. It is not uncommon to find new members wanting to purchase a military or police style 9mm semi automatic as their first handgun. Very few handguns in this category are manufactured with a competition level of accuracy as a requirement. Most are primaraly designed to be safe, reliable and affordable with only a need to be reasonably accurate. No matter how ‘cool’ they may look, without expensive barrel and trigger modifications very few will be capable of grouping consistantly in the ’10 ring’ at 25 metres and many will struggle to hit the target at all at 50 metres. If the handgun you purchase is not competitively accurate then chances are you will quickly become discouraged. On a cost/performance basis a quality .22LR rimfire handgun will normally be far more accurate and considerably more affordable to shoot regularly. Under most circumstances a quality rimfire hand gun will be capable of out shooting your abilities for several years while you develop good competitive shooting skills. Unfortunately very few new members who jump straight to a 9mm/.38/.357 caliber centrefire handgun ever become competitive shooters. Applying For Your First Handgun The following assumes you have been both a club and shooting association member for at least 6 months, have participated in at least 4 club run matches and have no reason to believe you may be denied club support. Step 1: If you do not already hold a WA Firearms Licence (rifle) you must first complete a West Australian Police (WAPOL) Firearms Awareness Test. This test can be administered by a licenced firearms dealer for a small fee or by the club president or secretary free of charge upon request. Once completed, a Firearms Awareness Certificate will be issued to you. See WAPOL website for details concerning content covered in the test. Step 2: Get support from your chosen shooting association. If you have chosen to join WAPA: See the club secretary & complete Pistol Application (Club Support Letter) Form WAPA 101. Give the completed WAPA 101 form and your Form 103 (record of your participation in at least four club run matches) to the club secretary for presentation at the next monthly committee meeting. Once approved, the secretary will provide the club support letter. If you have chosen to join SSAA: See the club secretary and complete the SSAA Club Firearms Application Form. Give the application form and your WAPA Form 103 (record of your minimum participation in four club matches) to the secretary for presentation at the next committee meeting. Once approved you will required to complete SSAA ‘Form F1’ in triplicate. You then mail two of the F1s to the SSAA Firearms Support Officer with a $15 fee per application. The SSAA will return one F1 and a completed SSAA Support Letter to you. Step 3: Purchase a handgun and obtain a Serviceability Certificate from the firearms dealer. If you are making a private purchase then the seller must obtain a Serviceability Certificate for you from either a licenced firearms dealer or a club authorised person. In the case of co-ownership, complete the Co-owner Permission Form (available on WAPOL website). Step 4: Complete the WAPOL Firearm Licence Application Form (available on WAPOL website) and lodge with the required fee at a participating Australian Post outlet. Include the following support documentation: 100 points proof of ID Serviceability Certificate Club support letter (including F1 for SSAA) Firearms Awareness Certificate Co-owner Permission Form (if required) Your genuine reason to own a firearm i.e. for club competition purposes only. Step 5: Wait. A 28 day “cooling off” period applies to first time applicants after which you will be contacted by WAPOL. At this time you will be required to submit a Statutory Declaration with photographs regarding storage facilities for your firearms. You will also be required to attend an Australia Post office which has a “Photo Point” to have your photograph taken for an Extract of Licence card. Note: Failure to advise Police Licensing Services within the next 28 days of your intention to continue with your application will result in your application lapsing and being declined. Once your permit is issued (a photo ID card and separate paper licence) you can pick up your firearm/s. You must carry both parts of your licence whenever you are in possession of your firearm/s or purchasing ammunition. See West Australian Police website for further details. Storage & Security Under the firearms regulations your firearms when not in use or transit must be stored in a compliant firearms cabinet . The cabinet must be securely anchored at two points to at least two immovable structural surfaces i.e. wall & floor. These cabinets can be purchased from firearms dealers and should be marked that they comply with the WA Police Firearms Regulations. An overview of the specifications for storage cabinets appears on the WAPOL website or in Schedule 4 of the Firearms Regulations. Please note: Firearms and ammunition must not be stored together unless the ammunition is within another locked compartment. Magazines must not be stored loaded.