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Unlocking Mental Well-being: iflow Psychology
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Your Sydney Psychologists, Australia.

NSW Firearms Psychologist: NSW Police and Mental Health Reports

Obtaining a firearms license is a serious undertaking and can involve a thorough psychological evaluation, especially when requested by the NSW Police. This evaluation ensures the safety and responsibility of individuals who wish to possess firearms. Here’s an in-depth look at the process and its importance.

Shooting as a sport can be fun but we all need to be safe.

Why a Firearms License?

People may need a firearms license for various reasons, including sport shooting, hunting, or professional requirements like law enforcement or security roles.

The Importance of Regulating Firearms

After the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania in 1996, where 35 people were killed, Australia underwent significant legislative changes. This event triggered stringent gun control measures to curb gun-related violence.

The reforms included banning semi-automatic and automatic firearms, implementing strict licensing regulations, initiating mandatory firearm registration, and enforcing firearm storage requirements.

The government's response, led by Prime Minister John Howard, aimed to enhance public safety by rigorously regulating firearms. This approach was intended to prevent similar tragedies by reducing the availability of firearms.

The tragedy highlighted the need for stricter laws and monitoring of firearms, prompting a shift in public opinion towards more stringent control measures.

The NSW Firearms License Evaluation Process

The NSW firearms license evaluation process involves the following:

  1. Application: Apply online through the NSW Police Force website, submitting personal details and the reasons for firearm ownership. You will also need to complete a firearms safety course.

  2. Requirements: Specific criteria need to be fulfilled, such as being a resident of NSW, having a genuine reason for firearm possession (e.g., sport shooting, hunting), and completing a background check.

  3. Safety Course: Undertake an approved firearms safety course covering various topics related to firearm handling, safety, and laws in NSW.

  4. Written Exam: Pass a written exam as part of the safety course evaluation to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of firearm safety regulations.

  5. Assessment: The Firearms Registry evaluates the application, considering the suitability, background checks, genuine reasons, and completion of safety requirements.

  6. Granting License: If approved, a firearms license is granted, specifying the permitted firearms, purpose, and usage restrictions, with periodic renewals required.

  7. Continued Compliance: License holders must adhere to strict regulations, including safe storage, reporting changes in circumstances, and compliance with all firearm laws.

During the NSW Firearms license evaluation process, the Firearms Registry may seek further information if there are concerns about your suitability to hold a firearms license. This may involve a medical assessment from your treating medical professional.

In some cases, the NSW Police requires a comprehensive psychological evaluation that includes clinical interviews and psychological testing. The process aims to assess mental fitness, responsibility, and adherence to safety.

These evaluations are vital for ensuring both individual and societal welfare. They enhance safety by ensuring only mentally fit and responsible individuals gain access to firearms.

Psychological Assessments for Firearm License Reinstatement in New South Wales (NSW)

In New South Wales (NSW), firearm license holders facing license suspension or revocation often require psychological assessments to reinstate their permits.

This assessment process becomes imperative following suspension due to factors like an Interim Apprehended Violence Order. Individuals might need assessments to address concerns around adverse security assessments or disclose relevant medical history during license renewal.

NSW's stringent regulations mandate psychological evaluations for license reinstatement, especially when mental health concerns or adverse assessments are involved. These assessments serve as a pivotal step in the reinstatement process, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of an applicant's mental health status and suitability for firearm ownership.

Approach for a Psychological Assessment for Obtaining a Firearms License in NSW

  1. Prepare: Familiarise yourself with the license application requirements and the role of the psychological assessment in the process.

  2. Find a Psychologist: Contact an accredited psychologist experienced in assessing individuals to obtain firearms licenses in NSW. Ensure they are experienced and appropriately trained to perform such evaluations and understand the licensing criteria.

  3. Documentation: Ensure you provide all the relevant documentation to the psychologist or psychiatrist at your first consultation. This should include the letter from the NSW Police Force Firearms Registry requesting a Risk Assessment and the signed Medical Report Authorisation Form.

  4. Understand the Evaluation: Be transparent during the assessment. It typically involves discussing your mental health history any previous issues, and ensuring you're mentally fit to handle firearms responsibly.

  5. Be Honest: Answer questions truthfully and openly. The psychologist assesses your mental state, potential risks, and your capability to possess a firearm safely.

  6. Address Concerns: If there are past mental health or behavioural concerns, provide context, demonstrate rehabilitation or stability, and emphasise your commitment to safety and responsibility.

  7. Follow-Up: After the assessment, inquire about the next steps in the application process. Ensure any follow-up actions or documentation required are completed promptly.

How to Find a NSW Firearms Psychologist

Dean Harrison is the Principal Counselling Psychologist and Director at iflow Psychology. He served in NSW Police and had statewide responsibility for psychological assessments for entry into NSW Police. He also provided psychological assessments for entry into special services and high-risk areas and annual psychological screening assessments and evaluations for fitness for duty.

Dean also served on an Australian Government National Psychology Team for forensic matters to assess and manage risk. This team was formed as a proactive initiative following the Lindt Cafe Siege to improve risk assessment and management and government interdepartmental communication and management of public risk.

The Lindt Cafe Siege occurred in Sydney, Australia, on 15-16 December 2014. Over a period of 16.5 hours, a lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, held hostages in the Lindt Chocolate Cafe at Martin Place. The siege ended tragically with the deaths of two hostages and the gunman. It was a pivotal event that deeply impacted Australia and led to extensive discussions regarding counter-terrorism measures and responses to such incidents.

While psychological evaluation to obtain or regain a firearms license might seem inconvenient, it is an important strategy to help prevent harm to individuals and promote community safety and confidence.

Contact iflow Psychology

Complete our simple enquiry form, and our friendly admin team will contact you during office hours. We are here to answer any questions and assist you in scheduling an appointment.

Location Details

Visit iflow Psychology in Leichhardt, Inner West Sydney, NSW, Australia, for in-person consultations. We also provide convenient telehealth services, ensuring accessibility no matter your location.


The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Before making any decisions, we recommend consulting your treating doctor, health professionals, and legal representatives. This is particularly important if you have health concerns, existing mental health or medical conditions, or if you feel you are not coping.

(c) 2023 Dean Harrison

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