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Thread: Firearms and weapons in general used as photographic props.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Firearms and weapons in general used as photographic props.

    To any member that is considering using any firearm or any form of weapon in general as a photographic prop please do some research regarding the legality of ownership and usage of those items in your state of residence.
    We have radically differing legislation between states in Australia as to what is considered a "real" firearm, a replica firearm, a controlled weapon and a prohibited weapon.
    It appears that some items that are perfectly acceptable to be owned and used in some states have the potential to land you in jail in other states.
    If you want to pose someone with firearms or weapons and publish the images on the 'net please make sure first that you and / or the subject posing with them has the appropriate license, permit or exemption to possess, carry or use those items.
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    To add to Andrew's post. In some states you need a licence for 'theatrical amoury' for props used in the film/television/arts industries, and thus as photography is defined as an Art, then you may need the appropriate licences before using a firearm/weapon/replica etc. Also some states have a clause than any replica or firearm used must have a high visibility plug in the end of the barrel at all times.

    So before using anything like this in your photography, check regarding the laws in your State.
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    Here is an example of what I did a while ago for fun with friends, but we hired an armourer from Sydney who is licenced to have props and weapons on location so it was safe and legal for everyone.





    Cant find the rest of the photos but there were a few rifles and pistols on hand.

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    I hold a NSW firearms licence.

    I can confirm that in NSW, to even handle a firearm, one must be licensed for the category of firearm in question.

    In NSW, the main pieces of legislation and regulations applicable to firearms are as follows:



    See the following URL for more legislation and regulations in NSW:

    http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/about_u...ms/legislation

    I am not a theatrical armourer, so I am not familiar with the details of lawful handling of firearms by non-licensed persons (eg, actors and models) requiring them for theatrical purposes; but otherwise, it is not legal in NSW for a non-licensed person to handle firearms.

    This means that if you are a photographer who also holds a firearms licence, it is illegal for your models to handle your firearms unless they also possess a licence for the category of firearm(s) to be used.
    Last edited by Xenedis; 27-08-2012 at 4:27pm.

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    According to the armourer that was with me - its fine for the talent or photographer to handle the weapon, but only if and when the licenced/qualified person in that category of theatre/props is present and has checked and cleared the weapon each time before handing it over to the talent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    According to the armourer that was with me - its fine for the talent or photographer to handle the weapon, but only if and when the licenced/qualified person in that category of theatre/props is present and has checked and cleared the weapon each time before handing it over to the talent.
    Thanks Jackie.

    I've never looked into that aspect of firearms law, as I've never had a need; but it's handy to know. Naturally actors and models handle firearms in TV, movies, etc., and there are qualified, licensed armourers involved with the safe, legal handling thereof.

    For the lack of a theatrical armourer and appropriate permits, etc., I'll re-iterate to this site's general membership that in NSW, it is not legal to handle a firearm without a licence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    According to the armourer that was with me - its fine for the talent or photographer to handle the weapon, but only if and when the licenced/qualified person in that category of theatre/props is present and has checked and cleared the weapon each time before handing it over to the talent.
    Please remember that this thread refers to the radical differences that occur between states, something that may be fine is definitely not ok in others.
    Also with current regulations in some states certain types of replica or imitation firearms are simply not allowed to be owned or used by anyone.
    As for the image of the bloke sitting on the dunny, maybe it is all about a concealed weapon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    Please remember that this thread refers to the radical differences that occur between states, something that may be fine is definitely not ok in others.
    As a matter of interest, was there an incident which triggered (pardon the pun) this thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    As for the image of the bloke sitting on the dunny, maybe it is all about a concealed weapon?
    The 'ammunition' worries me more!

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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    Please remember that this thread refers to the radical differences that occur between states, something that may be fine is definitely not ok in others.
    Also with current regulations in some states certain types of replica or imitation firearms are simply not allowed to be owned or used by anyone.
    As for the image of the bloke sitting on the dunny, maybe it is all about a concealed weapon?
    Noticed that I stated the armourer we hired is from Sydney. We had a safety brief before we even picked up a camera. As he works and supervises here and in Sydney and in Aus, his qualification and legal handling for theatrical stuff is not limited by state, as it needs to be standardized for the arts and film industry as mentioned by him, and as questioned by my army officer mate who was with me. Since my example is for/about having a qualified armourer on location for photography.

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    Yes, I noticed that you mentioned that he was from Sydney. Despite his "mentioning" that everything is standardised for the arts and film industry, I will assume that it was before 1 July 2011 when certain states changed their laws that prohibited certain types of firearms being used without a permit.
    As far as I am aware NSW law doesn't override either Federal law or the laws in place in other states.

    This is the entire point of the thread, laws have changed, what used to be legally acceptable in some states is no longer the case.
    People must take the time to research the current laws pertaining to their state and not to place faith in anecdotal evidence and hearsay.
    Last edited by I @ M; 27-08-2012 at 5:24pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    Yes, I noticed that you mentioned that he was from Sydney. Despite his "mentioning" that everything is standardised for the arts and film industry, I will assume that it was before 1 July 2011 when certain states changed their laws that prohibited certain types of firearms being used without a permit.
    As far as I am aware NSW law doesn't override either Federal law or the laws in place in other states.

    This is the entire point of the thread, laws have changed, what used to be legally acceptable in some states is no longer the case.
    People must take the time to research the current laws pertaining to their state and not to place faith in anecdotal evidence and hearsay.

    Yup.

    Unfortunately we could not get one of his M134 miniguns as it was sent back to Sydney already. I never thought to ask him what it was doing in Adelaide anyway.

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    The main thing to remember here is that:

    EVERY STATE HAS DIFFERING LAWS, SO EACH PERSON NEEDS TO CHECK THEIR OWN STATE LAWS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    As a matter of interest, was there an incident which triggered (pardon the pun) this thread?



    The 'ammunition' worries me more!

    There was/is a thread that contains a firearm/replica, which got the mods and I onto the discussion as we (some of us have licenced firearms) knew there were issues and state based variations on the laws. So we decided to look into it, and post an overall generic thread regarding this. This thread is not about AP, but rather a general community reminder about the Law and firearms, used in 'Art'.
    Last edited by ricktas; 27-08-2012 at 6:53pm.

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    As one country we should have the same laws through out not only for firearms but a lot of other laws

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    I do agree that the firearms act should be a standard through Australia, people with a firearms licence and interest in photography can shoot more than one way. Photos of firearms need to be taken serously eg a barrel can not be pointed straight into a lens with a person behind the camera. Even though you use the time delay in the camera, this does not really look to good for the person holding the firearm. This would be a major breach of the firearms act and would be more than a slap over the wrists. Hunting photos can be a great way to combine both hobbies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Witte View Post
    Photos of firearms need to be taken serously eg a barrel can not be pointed straight into a lens with a person behind the camera. Even though you use the time delay in the camera, this does not really look to good for the person holding the firearm. This would be a major breach of the firearms act and would be more than a slap over the wrists.


    Over the years I've seen heaps of photos of Australian Olympic shooters pointing barrels at camera lens and there's never been the slightest fuss over them -

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-2...ofiles/4136680

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/...-1226399506885

    http://www.foxsports.com.au/olympic-...9#.UXd-crF--Hs

    http://www.plainsproducer.com.au/?p=1211
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    Over the years I've seen heaps of photos of Australian Olympic shooters pointing barrels at camera lens and there's never been the slightest fuss over them -

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-2...ofiles/4136680

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/...-1226399506885

    http://www.foxsports.com.au/olympic-...9#.UXd-crF--Hs

    http://www.plainsproducer.com.au/?p=1211

    Not to mention the official Aus Army magazine and other military publications, happens all the time with barrel pointing at camera.
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    I've spent the past 10yrs in a Star Wars costuming club where just about all of our props are based on real weapons while none of us have had issues from carrying our blasters while in costume (you would be amazed at the amount of cops that want pics with us holding our blasters) we have had a member arrested at gun point on the way to a charity event out of costume. He had his blaster in a back pack and the butt was sticking out the top and somebody called the police saying somebody was running around a machine gun.
    That was a wake up call for us as a lot of us use to carry them sitting on top of our plastic tubs our costumes are in while on the way to an event, now I keep mine closed in my tub with photocopied sheet on the lid with of the contents and a note saying they are replica props.
    Only got pulled over once and spent 20 min talking to the cop and showing him my costume and props because he though they were way cool he did say that what the sheet on the lid was a great idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    Over the years I've seen heaps of photos of Australian Olympic shooters pointing barrels at camera lens and there's never been the slightest fuss over them -

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-2...ofiles/4136680

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/...-1226399506885

    http://www.foxsports.com.au/olympic-...9#.UXd-crF--Hs

    http://www.plainsproducer.com.au/?p=1211

    As a news photographer we do this all the time - personally I check and clear the firearm before allowing it to be pointed at me, no matter how experienced the operator is.

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    Interesting thread.

    I would NEVER EVER EVER allow ANYONE to point a firearm at me whether I had cleared it or not. Who's to say the nut behind the butt doesn't load it in the meantime. Just NOT worth the risk. If you want that image use a damn tripod for god's sake !

    Firearm legislation varies substantially state to state and it would behove anyone wanting models etc to hold firerarms to check how they are placed legally in these situations. You can contact the firearms registry (usually known as Weapons Licencing Branch) in YOUR state (where the shoot will be taking place, that is). Try to get it in writing / by email as a verbal answer is worth the paper its written on, and you will not necessarily gety a consistent answer either. Yep do your best to get something in writing. A "Fred in the weapons branch told me it would be OK" won't help you much.

    A contact list can be found on this page:
    http://www.ssaa.org.au/licensing-security.html

    Email then ring to confirm email has been received.
    Do it WELL ahaead of any planned shoot....
    Don't expect a prompt answer. Chase it up periodically. (say fortnightly)

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