IN A MAJOR LEGAL BATTLE with WA Police, the NSC has scored a key victory in getting the Ruger PC Charger licensed in Western Australia.
It is an outcome that we believe will pave the way for the gun to be able to be registered in NSW, TAS and South Australia, which are trying to ban the gun for the same reasons as WA.
Ruger PC Charger now allowed with modifications
In 2020, the we fought the decision to prohibit the gun in the WA State Administrative Tribunal (SAT). WAPol backed down from an “outright ban” to agreeing to allow licensing of the gun on a “case by case” basis.
However when our applicant re-applied, WA Police reneged on their undertaking arguing that the gun could be easily converted to a category D longarm. This time we decided to fight again, but this time with three applicants, not one.
The good news is that the matter has now been settled in writing through the WA SAT, by allowing the gun to be licensed (equivalent to being registered) by any WA cat H licence holder, subject to two modifications.
While modifications are not ideal – and not the NSC’s preferred position – the modifications proposed by the police to prevent the gun from being converted to category D were acceptable to our applicants because it finally provided them with a way to getting the guns licenced.
For that reason we helped them settle on the agreement.
It became obvious in our fight with WAPOL, that they had never even seen, handled or formally tested the Ruger before deciding to ban it. Instead they relied on pictures from the Internet to justify their position.
We believe that if the matter had progressed, that we would have fought it on those grounds, although at a much higher legal cost.
What is clear though, is that our regulators don’t do their homework when it comes to applying “appearance laws”. It’s why we’re confident that we’ll continue winning fights like this as we take more on.
What are the modifications?
WA Police required two modifications.
The first is that the receiver bracket is cut such that the vertical Picatinny / Weaver type modification is removed. This will prevent a buttstock being able to be attached, which WAPOL argues changes it to a category D longarm.
The second modification is that the receiver bracket is to be permanently attached to the receiver. This prevents the receiver bracket from simply being swapped-out.
Plus, WA licence holders must also agree not to fit a front handgrip.
What about the integrity of the chassis?
Before reaching this position, the we sought and received advice from the Ruger’s importer/ distributor, NIOA about whether the modifications would compromise the integrity/safety of the chassis.
The advice we received in writing from them was “removing the rail portion from the receiver bracket would not weaken the firearm or make it dangerous to use.”
We thank NIOA for their help with this matter.
The South Australian case
WA is not the only place the NSC has been fighting to prevent the banning of the Ruger PC 9 Charger.
After a recent rejection for a permit in SA, the NSC is supporting a new fight against a ban there, with an action filed in the SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The first hearing in that fight will be held in early August.
While we are chalking up our fair share of cases on the Ruger, the filing in SA now means the NSC has filed legal actions over the pistol in every jurisdiction in Australia other than Federal/ ACT and NSW.
That is far more than any other shooting group has done for shooters in a long time – and we are yet to reach our third birthday.