In Australia, the possession of a firearm requires a licence or permit. To comply with the law, applicants for a firearms licence must prove that they have a ‘genuine reason’. Here’s roughly how it works:

Do You Have a ‘Genuine Reason’?

A ‘genuine reason’ is not equivalent to self-protection, the protection of another person or the protection of your property. The list below covers the eight genuine reasons available. It is particularly aimed at people involved in the farming and agricultural industries, who need to control vertebrate pest populations on their land.

An individual has a ‘genuine reason’ if they are involved in:

Sport

For members of approved target shooting clubs.

Vermin Control

You must prove that you are a member of an approved hunting club or have the written permission of a landowner, which says that you can hunt on his or her land.

Primary Production

For primary producers in which a firearm is required for activities related to farming and grazing.

Rural Occupation

This genuine reason applies to people who do not fall under the Primary Producer category, such as an employee or relative of a primary producer.

Vertebrate Pest Animal Control

A person has this genuine reason if they are a professional contract shooter or employed to control vertebrate pests on rural land.

A government agent employed to kill large feral animals or animals affected by disease, such as tuberculosis, is also eligible.

Business or Employment

For people engaged in employment outside of farming, such as the security industry or commercial fishing.

Animal Welfare

For people employed to handle or work with animals and required to use firearms, such as vets and RSPCA officers.

Firearms Collection

For collectors of firearms who can prove that the collection has genuine commemorative, financial, historical or thematic value.

Categories of Licences

There are different categories of firearms licences – A, B, C, D, H, Firearms Collector and Firearms Dealer – depending on the type of firearm needed.

Individuals applying for a licence other than Category A must provide evidence of a ‘special need’. For more information about the firearms that apply to each licence category, see the NSW Police Force Firearms fact sheet.

Are there Any Restrictions to Applying for a Firearms Licence?

In addition to proving that you have one or more of the genuine reasons, you must:

  • Be over 18;
  • Be a fit and proper person;
  • Complete a firearms safety training course; and
  • Provide documents about where you wish to store your firearm.

Personal History Checks

Personal history checks are conducted to make sure that individuals meet the requirements within the legislation. You are not eligible to possess a firearm if you have been convicted in the past ten years of either an offence or an apprehended violence order that is specified in the regulations. Licences will not be granted to people that are subject to Good Behaviour Bonds.

But Wait, There’s More:

This article is only a guide. Applicants and licensees who are residents of NSW should keep up to date with the Firearms Act 1996 and the Firearms Regulation 2006.

If you have a genuine reason to obtain a NSW firearms licence for your business and all the requirements are met, you can request forms to apply for a firearms licence on the NSW Police website.

Unsure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from one our network of 600+ expert lawyers or any other legal needs.

Sydney Rae

Sydney is a Paralegal at LawPath working in our content team, which works to provide free legal guides to enhance public access to legal resources. With a keen interest in Tort and IP Law, her research focuses on small businesses, and how they can better navigate complex legal procedures.