How to get your ACT Firearms License:
So, you’ve decided to become a Law abiding Firearm Owner? Well, these are the steps you will need to follow on your path to joining one of the most enjoyable and safe sports in Australia:
Step 1: Genuine Reason:
Obtaining your firearms license in the ACT involves demonstrating your ‘Genuine Reason’ to own a firearm. Your genuine reasons will usually be as follows:
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. There are a number of clubs like this in Canberra, with the SSAA being most prominent.
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.
An active member will need to provide evidence of their activities, usually in the form of targets signed off by the Range Officer or other authorised official.
Recreational hunting and vermin control:
Evidence that needs to be provided in support of this application includes providing written permission from the owner or occupier of the land that will be used for shooting, or you will need to prove that you (the applicant) are 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, or 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.
If you are fortunate enough to know someone with a rural property who will allow hunting on their land, you need to have them fill out the appropriate form (http://www.police.act.gov.au/~/media/act/pdf/landowner-or-occupier-permission-for-recreational-hunting.pdf) and provide evidence of their owning or occupying the land.
If you do not have such luck, you will need to join an approved hunting organisation and show evidence of your membership and attendance.
Bear in mind that if you wish to pursue both hunting and target shooting, you will need to meet both criteria to have your license approved.
There are other ‘Genuine reasons’ such as a Collectors License or Primary Production License, but these are less common. Contact us for more information if you require it. It is important to note that ‘Self Defence’ is NOT a genuine reason to obtain a firearm.
Step 2: Firearm Classes:
Consider which class or classes of firearm you wish to use. Generally speaking most recreational shooters will choose to apply for a Class A (Air rifles, rimfire rifles, and shontguns) and Class B (Centrefire rifles) license if their genuine reason supports this, as putting a second class on your license later on means extra time, money, and paperwork.
It is important to note that categories B, C, and H also carry special conditions which carry a ‘Special need’ condition, which means that you need to demonstrate that you have a ‘Need’ for this category of firearm.
Category B can usually be quite easily satisfied for target shooters and recreational hunters.
Category C is primarily for Primary Producers and Professional Shooters.
Category H is a handgun license, which has a number of other conditions applied to it, including a national police check and 2 referees.
Step 3: Firearm Safety Course: The next stage in obtaining your firearms license is to complete your firearms safety course. This course outlines the basic principles of firearms safety, and is followed by a multiple choice questionaire to determine your safety awareness of firearms and their correct storage and use.
This course is conducted by the SSAA at their clubhouse, or by certain Firearm dealers. Contact SSAA or the Firearms registry for details.
Step 4: License application form: Fill in your ACT Firearms license application form (http://www.police.act.gov.au/~/media/act/pdf/adult-firearms-licence-application.pdf) complete with evidence of your genuine reason, your firearms safety certification, and the receipt of payment for a Firearms license application. This payment is made at any Government shopfront within the ACT.
These forms are then submitted to the ACT Firearms registry for processing. This will take 28 days from the date of submission so that criminal record checks and accuracy of your evidence can be verified. It is also considered a ‘Cooling off’ period.
It is generally a good idea to call on the day your license is due for collection to confirm that it is ready.
Step 5 is to go and collect your shiny new license! Congratulations! You are now a Licensed, Law Abiding Firearm Owner! Welcome!
But remember, before you can purchase your first firearm, you need to make sure you meet the safe storage requirements for you firearms.
There are a large number of safes available on the Australian market, so shop around and get an idea of what size you need, separate compartments for ammo and bolts, or shelving for H class firearms (Handguns).
With all that in mind, be safe, have fun, and straight shooting!