What are the laws in Australia for obtaining a firearm?

Step one: Obtaining a gun licence

must be over the age of 18 for a firearm licence. But can apply for firearm minor permit if under 18 years.
(1) identify your ‘genuine reason’ for wanting a gun licence: sport/target shooting, recreational hunting, primary production, pest control, business or employment, rural occupation, animal welfare, firearm collector.
(2) Depending on your genuine reason/s you will need to provide the required proof for that genuine reasons i.e.: proof of club membership, proof of employment, proof below to collector society, proof from accountant or solicitor that you are primary producer or employer that you are a security guard etc.
(3) obtain an application form for a firearm licence
(4) Complete a multi-day firearm safety course. Pass a written test and practical assessment which will provide certificate that you have passed and completed course.
(5) Compile your firearm application form:
Identify your genuine reasons for a firearm
Identify Category of firearm you require: A, B, C, D and/or H. For D (most lethal firearms. For category D (Self-loading rifles and shotguns), applicant must show “special reason” as to why the applicant needs such a firearm and why a less lethal firearm would not fit the purpose.
attach safety training completion certificate
declaration that you meet safe storage requirements for the firearm category you are seeking. Firearm storage is generally not inspected but random checks are allowed.
4) Firearms Registry processes your application and conduct background checks: includes – criminal record and any court ordered mental health orders and intelligence checks.

If you have a record for a ‘prescribed offence’ then you cannot obtain a gun licence including:
sexual offences
Violent offences
Offences related to prohibited drugs
Terrorism-related offences
Offences relating to organised crime and criminal groups
Firearms or weapons offences
Fraud, dishonesty and stealing offences5) Wait at least 28 days for checks to be conducted and application processed.
6) If your application is approved you will be sent a letter. You then go to what is known as the Road Traffic Authority wit the letter and your proof of ID. RTA will take your photo, you pay a fee and RTA will issue and firearm licence.

Note: for a first time applicant foe a handgun licence the applicant may only apply for what is known as a probationary pistol licence. a PPL is issued for six months and the licence holder may only use the handgun at a gun club or under supervision by a person who has a full handgun licence.

Step two: To obtain a gun

Lodge a permit to acquire (PTA) application. A PTA must be lodged for each firearm
The firearm type must correspond with the firearm licence category you have
On the PTA form the applicant must:
to identify address where firearms will be stored.
Type of firearm category they are seeking
declare can comply with safekeeping requirements and have a good reason for acquiring the firearm. The good reason must relate to the ‘genuine reason’.
For permit to acquire a handgun (include semi-automatic) official from pistol club must complete part of the form
attached the fee required
send PTA application to Firearm Registry
There is a mandatory 28 day waiting period to complete further background checks. If your PTA is for a second or subsequent hunting rifle then background checks are not conducted.
Once you have the PTA you take it and firearm licence to Licensed Firearms Dealer
You can purchase a firearm/s
Firearm dealer will notify Firearms Registry of the purchase.
The firearm will be recorded on the Firearms Registry database system


With exemptions, anyone owning a gun must have a license, and anyone acquiring a gun must have a permit. There is a 28-day waiting period for both.

Genuine Reason Required to Own Gun. To qualify for a gun license, an applicant must show a genuine reason for owning, possessing, or using guns. He can only use the gun for the reason he got the license.

An applicant has a genuine reason for possessing a gun if he wants it for (1) sport or target shooting and is a member of an approved club; (2) recreational hunting or vermin control and has written permission from the landowner; or (3) use in connection with an occupational requirement such as farming, vertebrate pest control, security services, animal welfare, or professional shooting. A bona fide gun collector can also get a license. Self defense and property protection are not genuine reasons (Section 23).

For licensure purposes, guns are grouped into categories, each with restrictions. (For example, in order to get a category C gun license, an applicant must not only establish a genuine reason, but he must also show special need and produce evidence that this is the only way to meet the need. Category C guns include self-loading rimfire rifles and self-loading shotguns below a certain magazine capacity.)

Eligibility Criteria

License applicants must be at least age 18 (Section 21). First-time applicants must complete prescribed gun training and safety courses.

The registrar must find applicants fit and proper. He must consider, among other things, if (1) the applicant’s physical or mental state is likely to endanger himself or anyone else; (2) the applicant was released from prison or subject to a restraining or protective order in the past 10 years; and (3) the applicant can store his gun safely and securely.

The registrar must deny a license if (1) reasonable grounds exist to believe that the applicant may not exercise continuous and responsible control over the gun because of his lifestyle or domestic circumstances; (2) issuing the license would be contrary to the public interest; (3) the applicant, in the past 10 years, was subject to a restraining or domestic violence protection order or convicted of a firearm or violent offense; or (4) the applicant is subject to a gun prohibition order. The registrar may provide other mandatory or discretionary grounds in regulations for denying a license (Sections 21 and 22).

License Suspension and Cancellation. The registrar must suspend a license if he has reasonable grounds for believing that the licensee has been charged with a domestic violence offense or committed or threatened to commit such an offense (Section 39). A license is automatically suspended if the licensee is subject to an interim domestic violence order. It is automatically cancelled if the licensee becomes subject to a firearms prohibition order or a domestic violence order (Sections 40 and 41).

A license may be cancelled (1) on any grounds on which it could have been denied; (2) if the licensee knowingly gave false or misleading information, violates the act, regulations, or license conditions; (3) if the registrar believes the licensee is no longer fit; or (4) for any other prescribed reasons (Section 41).

License Conditions. The applicant must agree to comply with the legal safe storage requirements, give details of the gun storage arrangements, and agree to allow the police to inspect the storage area. A license is not transferable. It is valid for five years (Section 36).

Gun Permits. Anyone who wants to acquire a gun must get a permit. A separate permit is required for each gun. Applicants must generally meet criteria similar to those for license applicants.

The registrar must deny a permit if it would be contrary to the public interest, and he may suspend or revoke one for the same grounds on which he can deny it. He may provide other mandatory or discretionary grounds for denial in regulations.

The permit is valid for 30 days or until the permittee gets the gun (Section 48).


A national gun registry is responsible for keeping track of gun owners and guns. Gun owners must register their guns with the registry. If a registered gun is sold, lost, or stolen, the person in whose name the gun is registered must report this to the police within seven days (Section 54). Gun registry information is not available to the public.

People cannot, without reasonable excuse, sell, buy, use, or have unregistered guns (Section 53). They can buy or sell registered guns only through licensed gun dealers. And licensed gun dealers cannot repair unregistered guns.

Criminal Defence Lawyers

Anyone in Queensland wishing to own or use a gun, crossbow, paintball gun, or even certain types of knife, must have a valid weapons’ licence.

The most commonly held weapons licence in Queensland is a ‘firearms licence’, which is suitable for recreational shooting sports or target shooting and some occupational shooters

If you have a licence and would like to get a weapon, you must complete a permit to acquire. You must hold a valid weapons licence (or have applied for one) to complete this form.

Types of weapons licence
The type of licence you need depends on the category of weapon you want to own or use, and what you want to use it for.

Firearms: the most commonly used general licence used by farmers and sports and target shooters.
Minor: a restricted firearms licence for young people between the ages of 11 and 17 which allows use of weapons in certain circumstances, but not the acquisition of firearms.
Visitor: for people temporarily visiting Queensland with a firearm.
Armourer: required if you run a business for the storage, manufacture, modification or repair of weapons.
Dealer: required if you run a business buying or selling weapons.
Firearms instructor: required if you give firearms’ training on behalf of a Registered Training Organisation.
Group: authorises members of an organisation or employees of an organisation to possess and use weapons for the purpose stated on your licence e.g. members of a sports or target shooting club.
Blank-fire firearm: issued for the use of blank-fire firearms for use in the theatre or at sporting events.
Theatrical ordnance supplier: required if you run a business supplying weapons on a temporary basis for use in theatre film or television productions.
Collector’s licence: required by weapons collectors and permits the ownership of temporarily or permanently disabled weapons.
Miscellaneous weapons: required for the use of body armour, crossbows and the possession of some knives.
Concealable firearms: specifically for handguns.
Security (guard): required if you provide armed security services for the escort of valuables.
Security (organisation): required by businesses providing armed security services for the escort of valuables by licensed employees.
Categories of weapons

Depending on your licence type and your need for a weapon, your licence may be endorsed with categories that are appropriate for that licence and your need.

Prepare to apply
To apply for a weapons licence in Queensland you must:

Meet the personal eligibility requirements.
Have a genuine reason to hold the licence.
Have access to secure weapon storage.
Complete an approved weapons safety course in the 12 months before you apply.
Provide the supporting documentation requested during the application process.
Prove your identity.
Pay the required fees.
Visit a participating Australia Post outlet to show your proof of identity and get your photo taken.


Before the introduction of the National Firearms Agreement in 1996, gun laws in Australia looked very different. Injury prevention expert Associate Professor Philip Alpers details three evidence-based facts about gun reform.

With gun control back on the agenda, discerning facts from fiction when it comes to gun laws and statistics is more important than ever.

Associate Professor Phillip Alpers from the University’s School of Public Health has researched the regulation of firearms and firearm injury prevention for over ten years.

The Founding Director of GunPolicy.org, his research compares armed violence and gun laws across 350 jurisdictions across the world. Here, we revisit three critical pieces of his research:

1. No one state complies fully with the National Firearms Agreement
The National Firearms Agreement (NFA) was established after the 1996 Port Arthur mass shooting in which a man used two semi-automatic rifles to kill 35 people and wound 19 others.

“While the most important provisions of the NFA remain substantially intact, no jurisdiction fully complies,” said Philip Alpers.

According to the report commissioned by Gun Control Australia and released in October this year, “non-compliance from day one, and two decades of political pressure, have steadily reduced restrictions and undermined the NFA’s original intent.”

Associate Professor Alpers says one standout example of current non-complicance with the NFA is the licencing age. Despite NFA requirements that all applicants for a firearm licence be at least 18 years of age, every state and territory allows minors to possess and use firearms, ranging from 10 to 16 years across jurisdictions.

2. Firearm deaths rapidly decline since 1996 gun reforms
Since gun law reforms in 1996, Australia has seen an accelerating decline in intentional firearm deaths.

The research findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and co-authored by Associate Professor Alpers.

Lead author of the report, Emeritus Professor Simon Chapman, said “The absence of mass shootings in Australia in the past two decades compares to 13 fatal mass shootings in the 18 years prior to these sweeping reforms.”

Following the mandatory National Firearms Buyback in 1997 and despite a surge of post-law gun buying, the proportion of Australian households reporting private gun ownership declined by 75 per cent between 1988 and 2005.

3. More than a million firearms surrendered or seized since 1996
Person holding firearm.
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, ‘Association between gun law reforms and intentional firearms deaths in Australia’, also looked at the efficacy of gun buyback programs in Australia.

Since the 1997 mandatory National Firearms Buyback by federal and all state governments and the subsequent handgun buyback in 2003, more than a million privately owned firearms are known to have been surrendered or seized.

“Opponents of public health measures to reduce the availability of firearms often claim that ‘killers just find another way.’ Our findings show the opposite: there is no evidence of murderers moving to other methods,” said co-author Associate Professor Philip Alpers.

Source: https://www.guncontrolaustralia.org/how_do_you_obtain_a_firearm

Source 2: https://www.cga.ct.gov/PS99/rpt%5Colr%5Chtm/99-R-0824.htm

Source 3: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/crime-and-police/gun-licences/about-gun-licences

Source 4: https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2017/10/09/3-facts-about-gun-laws-in-australia.html