Troy wants to shoot for Australia. But police told him he’s a risk to the public


King said partially sighted people like him did not deserve to be regarded as a safety danger. Under the Paralympic classifications for vision-impaired sport, he is classified as B2, meaning “what you see at 60 metres, I need to be two metres away from it”.

“Putting extra conditions on us because of our disability, you really should not be saying that as the state government … that because of our disability we’re a concern to the public,” he said.

King practises at the Sydney International Shooting Centre, accompanied by a support worker.

King practises at the Sydney International Shooting Centre, accompanied by a support worker.Credit: Rhett Wyman

“We’ve got interstate people, like South Australian and Queensland shooters, that are going to be shoo-ins to get into Australian teams because of the barriers we need to jump over in Sydney. They’ve just gone overboard.”

King said the curbs in NSW meant he could not simply catch a taxi or Uber to a range when he wanted to practise, but had to arrange for a National Disability Insurance Scheme worker with a permit to possess firearms to travel there and back with him.

Additionally, low-vision shooters have only been able to shoot at the one club, which has recently shut down.

According to King, an official from the firearms registry, which operates within NSW Police, had also told him in a phone call that home storage of his air rifle posed a potential threat.

NSW Shooters and Fishers party MP Robert Borsak says there is no need to be heavy-handed with blind shooters.

NSW Shooters and Fishers party MP Robert Borsak says there is no need to be heavy-handed with blind shooters.Credit: Dominic Lorrimer

The official, King said, explained to him if he left his keys to his gun safe on his kitchen table momentarily, “somebody could just walk into your kitchen, pick up your keys and access your safe without you seeing them because of your disability.”

“That’s just idiotic,” King said. “I’m happy to even get a gun safe that’s got a fingerprint on it, or a pin code, if you’re worried about that … but [they said] ‘we can’t do that, it’s not safe for you to have it, you’re vision-impaired’.”

Vision-impaired shooters rely on sound rather than sight for aiming, using specially designed audio devices fitted to their rifles that emit a higher pitched noise the closer they are to the target.

They compete in standing and prone events in which blindfolds or opaque goggles are often worn to ensure a level playing field between people with contrasting degrees of visibility.

‘I used to shoot prior to losing my sight, so I’m sick of being treated like a baby.’

Vision impaired sporting shooter Bronwyn Drew

The category has featured at the Para-shooting world championships and is in line to make its debut at the 2028 Paralympics in Los Angeles.

Beneath the elite level, it’s seen by proponents as a pastime that facilitates social inclusion between visually impaired and fully sighted people.

Bronwyn Drew took it up in 2020, five years after losing most of her sight due to a rare genetic condition and travels hours by road from her home in Coolah, in central west NSW, to train and enter competition.

The 54-year-old, who is like King classified as having B2 vision, said shooters needed some assistance at the range, including help to know how their shots were landing.

Bronwyn Drew, left, with King, right, after winning silver and bronze medals respectively at the Sydney Cup event in February. South Australia’s Alana Tiller, centre, won gold.

Bronwyn Drew, left, with King, right, after winning silver and bronze medals respectively at the Sydney Cup event in February. South Australia’s Alana Tiller, centre, won gold.Credit: Shooting Australia/Facebook

But she has also challenged the special conditions, saying she knew shooters in other states who had none.

“As someone who is vision impaired we do need some support but it should be limited,” Drew said.

“I used to shoot prior to losing my sight, so I’m sick of being treated like a baby.

“It’s discrimination through and through. Am I good enough to make it to the Paras? Probably not, but I should be given a fair and equal chance to do so.”

Drew takes aim at the target.

Drew takes aim at the target.

A NSW Police spokesperson said the firearms registry was reviewing its policies and working with the nine shooters affected by the closure in February of Exsight Tandems, the only club where they had been permitted to be members.

Changes to conditions on the storage of rifles had made it easier than it been previously for family members or carers to assist vision-impaired shooters by sparing them undergoing the full licensing process, according to police.

“Additional criteria has also been implemented to allow all vision-impaired shooters to use firearms with a fully licenced sighted person present during their shoots with shooting clubs other than Exsight Tandems Shooting Club,” the spokesperson said.

However, the shooters and their advocates maintain the constraints on them are unnecessary.

“There is no need for a heavy-handed approach to visually impaired shooters,” Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party leader Robert Borsak said.

“This amounts to discrimination and in our view it’s illegal under the [NSW] Anti-Discrimination Act.“

King said they weren’t seeking any special treatment.

“All we want is to be treated the exact same way as any other shooter,” he said.

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