December 16th, 2012

Australia Gun Ownership Regulations

Source: Western Australia Police

Licence information – what you need to know
  • Persons wishing to possess or use a firearm must have a Firearm Licence.
  • A licence may be issued to either an individual person or to a body corporate such as a security company (incorporated body).
  • You must have a genuine reason to own a firearm – this includes being a member of a shooting club, being a recreational shooter, being a collector or having an occupational requirement such as a pastoralist or security firm properly licensed under the Security and Related Activities (Control) Act 1996.
  • Persons applying for an original licence are required to complete a Firearms Awareness Test at an approved firearm association/club and to complete a 28-day cooling off period after making their application before it can be considered.
  • You must have secure storage for your firearm that complies with Schedule 4 of the Firearm Regulations 1974.
  • The firearm will be registered to a licensee only, unless it is also licensed by another person; in which case the licence will be endorsed with either ‘primary user’ or ‘co-user’ This notation identifies that more than one person is licensed for this particular firearm.
  • You are required to provide proof that supports your genuine need to acquire a firearm.
  • Some firearms are restricted or prohibited. See the Firearms Regulations 1974 – Reg 26 and Firearms Regulations 1974 – Schedule 3.
  • Firearm Licence application forms can be obtained by accessing the Online forms page.
  • After completion, the application form must be printed and lodged in person at a participating Australia Post Office.
  • All firearms must be accompanied with a Serviceability Certificate, which is obtained by the seller.
  • Any change of address or circumstance must be reported to Police Licensing Services within 21 days of the change.

How do I apply?

Application forms are available online.

Once you complete the form, it must be printed and lodged at a participating Australia Post outlet.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please check that each field is filled out correctly and that all necessary forms are attached.

Partial or incorrect applications will not be accepted.  

You will need to satisfy a 100 point proof of identification requirement.

What constitutes 100 points of ID? See Before you begin (PDF, 125kb).

An application fee is payable, please see Licence fees.

For further information about applying for a Firearm Licence please see Licence applications.

What happens next?

The information contained in your application is scanned and forwarded electronically to Police Licensing (Firearms) for processing.

How long will it take?

Whilst we endeavour to complete all licence applications in a timely manner there is no set period because of a number of factors, but not limited to:

  • The complexity of the application;
  • Lack of requisite information provided by applicants;
  • Further information requiring follow-up;
  • Human Resources being available to assess applications and probity to ensure that applicants meet the criteria as being fit and proper, and that there is a genuine need/reason for the possession of a firearm;
  • IT sytem availability.

Not to undertake these checks and balances is likely to put community safety at risk.

Note: If the application is for an ‘Original’ Firearm licence, there is a legislative mandatory 28 day waiting period, which commences after the application has been received at Police Licensing Services prior to the assessment process beginning.

After the initial 28 days, you will receive correspondence from Licensing Services Firearms requesting information which you will need to supply within another 28 days.  If the information is not supplied within that time, legislation dictates that your application can not proceed.

Guidelines to obtaining a Firearm Awareness Certificate

  • A firearm awareness test is required to be successfully completed by every first time applicant for the issue of an original Firearm Licence.
  • The test is designed to ensure you understand the basic requirements for the safe handling of firearms and firearm laws in WA
  • The test and supporting information is available through Firearm Dealers or other authorised persons of approved firearm clubs or associations.
  • At the successful completion of the Test, the Firearm Awareness Certificate will be issued.
  • It is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
  • In the event that the applicant does not successfully pass the test on their first attempt they are excluded from ‘re-sitting’ the test for a period of 24 hours.
  • An applicant is not to be afforded more than three opportunities to complete the assessment and where an applicant has been unsuccessful on three occasions Police Licensing Services are to be notified of this.
  • A copy of the Firearm Awareness Certificate (with the actual test/result – including unsuccessful assessments) should be retained on file at the point of issue.
  • The authorised person issuing the certificate shall ensure all fields are completed in accordance with the explanatory note (as provided).
  • Once completed, the certificate is to be provided to the purchaser/applicant in order that it can be presented with their licence application at a participating Australia Post outlet.
  • To minimise errors and possible delays in the application process, it is preferable the certificate be typed and not hand written.

You have to prove that there is a genuine need and/or genuine reason for the firearm you are applying for.  

Genuine need/reason

What is the difference between a genuine reason and a genuine need?

Genuine reason under Section 11A of the Firearms Act sets out what is accepted at a legislative level as to who or what is deemed to be considered a genuine reason for wishing to licence/possess a firearm.

Under Section 11A (2) (a)-(f) of the state’s Firearms Act 1973:

A person has a genuine reason for acquiring or possessing a firearm or ammunition if and only if -

  • it is for use by the person as a member of an approved shooting club and the person is an active and financial member of the club;
  • it is for use by the person as a member of an approved organisation;
  • it is for use in hunting or shooting of a recreational nature on land the owner of which has given permission for that purpose;
  • it is required by the person in the course of the person’s occupation;
  • it is to form part of a genuine firearm collection or genuine ammunition collection; or
  • it is for another approved purpose.

The genuine need is based on a process of why a particular firearm is required over and above one of another type.

For guidance on genuine need please refer to Schedule 3 of the Firearms Regulations 1974.

Is the firearm I am applying for suitable for my size property?

There is no fixed property size requirement; however the application is considered and includes the calibre of the firearm being applied for. Other considerations are the size of the property and what the firearm is to be used for. For example, a high powered firearm would not be granted for an applicant wishing to shoot foxes on a 1 acre property bounded by residential areas.

Do I have to provide a letter from a property owner giving me permission to shoot on their property? 

Yes, a recreational shooter under Section 11A(2)(c) of the Firearms Act 1973 requires written permission from a property owner to satisfy the genuine reason for an applicant to use a firearm for hunting or recreational shooting.
If the applicant is the owner of a suitable property for the category of firearm being sought then the property letter is not required; however further evidence will be requested to verify details provided.


A person entitled to possess firearms or ammunition of any kind is to ensure that the firearms or ammunition are stored in accordance with the Firearms Regulations 1974.

Firearms and ammunition are to be stored in a locked cabinet or container that at least meets the specifications described in Schedule 4 or in “*such other way as is approved”.

Reference is also made to specific matters related to keys left in the cabinet, or where someone can find them as well as ammunition storage and method of fixing the cabinet or container to two immovable surfaces.

It is a requirement that an applicant for the issue of a licence or permit provide supporting advice (A Statutory Declaration and photographic evidence is required at the end of this document).

* ”in such other way as is approved” relates to specific situations where circumstances dictate that another form of security, in the opinion of the Commissioner’s delegated officer at the Licensing Enforcement Division, satisfies the criteria by providing secure storage. 

For more information, see our storage page.

Unlicensed Firearms/Infringements

Under Section 19 (1) of the Firearms Act 1973 it is an it is an offence to be in possession of unlicensed firearms:

  • Where an FAL holder’s licence has expired by 3 months or more, an infringement notice will be personally issued by Police.
  • A renewal notice will be included in service and you must renew this as soon as possible.
  • If the infringement notice is not paid within 28 days you may be charged with an offence under Section 19 (1) of the Firearms Act 1973.
  • Your firearms may also be seized after this time if you have not paid your renewal.
  • Should you not wish to renew your license, you may legally dispose or have your firearm destroyed by completing an authority to destroy by police.




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