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All firearms in the ACT are required to be registered. It is an offence to sell, purchase, possess or use an unregistered firearm. A person who acquires a firearm must provide the registrar with details of the firearm within seven calendar days of the firearm being acquired.
When a firearm is sold, the licensed owner must notify the firearms registrar within seven calendar days and provide the details set out in the regulations.
A registered user is the term given to a licensee who is lawfully allowed to use firearms that belong to another person, with the owner's permission. To obtain this privilege, the registered user must complete a Registered User form; lodge it at the Firearms Registry with their identification and receipt of payment. There is no obligatory wait time with these applications, with most being processed the day they are received.
Registration of a firearm may be cancelled by the registrar in writing, if the person in whose name a firearm is registered:
- does not hold a licence or permit for the firearm
- is found to have made a false application in connection with the registration
- is convicted of an offence under the Firearms Act or its regulations.
Adult licence requirements
There are a number of minimum requirements an applicant must meet to apply for a firearms licence.
The applicant must:
- provide genuine reasons for having a firearms licence
- be aged 18 years or over
- be viewed as a suitable person by the registrar
- be able to prove his or her identity through 100 points of identification material
- meet secure home storage and safety requirements for their firearm(s)
- provide proof of residency within the ACT.
If applying for a licence for the first time, the applicant must undertake a firearms training and safety course that is compliant with the firearms registrar’s standards. These courses are available through various clubs and authorised firearms instructors.
A firearms licence applicant is required to provide and prove at least one genuine reason for possessing or using a firearm. In cases where applicants may have more than one genuine reason all reasons should be stated.
IMPORTANT: Personal protection is not a genuine reason for owning a firearm.
Note that some genuine reasons prescribe that the firearm cannot be used for any other purpose.
Sport and target shooting
An applicant for this sort of licence must provide evidence that they are an ‘active member’ of an approved club that conducts competitions or activities requiring the use of a firearm for which the licence is sought.
An 'active member' is a person who participates in club shooting activities on at least four days a year, or makes a personal contribution, other than financial, to the club.
Recreational hunting and vermin control
Evidence to be provided in support of this application:
Applicants living on rural land must:
- prove that they are the owner of the land
- provide written permission from the owner or occupier of the land to shoot on the land or prove that the applicant is an active member of an approved club, using the firearm solely for the purpose of taking part in recreational hunting activities conducted by the club
- provide evidence that the principal object of the club is to conduct recreational hunting activities, requiring the use of firearms for which the licence is sought
- prove that the club has permission from the owner or occupier of the land for recreational hunting or vermin control.
Applicants living on reserved land must provide evidence of permission from the Environment ACT, ACT Forests or other authority to use the firearm(s) for the purpose of recreational hunting and/or vermin control.
Applicants involved in primary production must provide documentation proving that the applicant is a person whose occupation is that of a primary producer, or who is the owner, lessee or manager of land used for primary production and that the intention to use the firearm is solely in connection with farming or grazing activities.
Applicants involved in vertebrate pest animal control must prove that they are a professional contract shooter or employed in controlling pest animals on rural land, or employed or authorised by a government agency to control animals that are pests.
Applicants involved in business or employment must demonstrate that it is necessary in the conduct of the applicant’s business or duration of employment to possess or use the firearm.
Applicants involved in animal welfare must be:
- an officer of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- a veterinary surgeon
- a person employed by or within an administrative unit with responsibilities for animal welfare or an owner, transporter, drover or other animal handler who may need to destroy animals to avoid their suffering.
Applicants who are firearms collectors must be members of a collectors club or association which is approved by the registrar and whose members collect the type of firearms for which the licence is sought.
Applicants submitting as composite entity must demonstrate that they are a body corporate, partnership or government agency which is required to possess firearms for use by its employees in the legal performance of its functions.
In addition to meeting the genuine reason criteria for ownership of a firearm, applicants for category B, C and H firearms are required to satisfy the firearms registrar that they have a special need for the firearm to carry out the specific task at hand.
Lost or stolen firearms
It is a condition of your licence that, if your firearm has been stolen, lost or destroyed you must report that fact to the firearms registry within two days of becoming aware of its loss, theft or destruction.
- Change of address
A licensee or the holder of a permit must notify the registrar of any change of address within two days.
Discharge of firearm (public place)
A person must not, without a reasonable excuse, have a firearm on his or her possession in a public place, or discharge a firearm near a street or in a public place.
Using postage to send firearms
It is illegal to send or receive firearms in the mail in the ACT. It is also illegal to direct or request another person to do so.
Control of firearms under the influence
It is an offence to handle a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug. Transferring possession of a firearm to such a person is also prohibited.
Production of licence
You must produce your licence or permit when requested by a police officer. If you do not have the licence or permit in your immediate possession, you must produce it to a police officer as soon as practicable within 24 hours, or state your name and residential address to the police officer.