How to get your NT Firearms License:
With great access to hunting lands and a great variety of game, The Northern Territory is a truly great place to be a licenced firearm owner. The process to gain your licence in the NT is pretty straightforward, and we hope that this guide helps you attain your very own firearm.
We’ve broken this process into 5 steps, with a handy link to some relevant legislation at the end.
Step 1: Eligibility
Step 2: Genuine Reason
Step 3: Safe Storage
Step 4: Test
Step 5: Buying your first gun
Step 1: Eligibility:
A key part of the NT firearms laws is ensuring that firearms are not permitted to be owned by people who may pose a danger to the community. This means that if you have a serious criminal history (for offences such as assault, sexual offences, narcotics etc) you will be denied a licence. You must also be of sound mind and character, and not subject to any domestic violence orders within the last five years.
Other requirements include being over 18 years f age (except for a juniors club licence), and you must be a Northern Territory resident.
Step two: Genuine reason
As in all of Australia, you need to demonstrate a genuine reason to be licenced. There are a number of possible reasons, including hunting, collectors, and sports shooting.
The average shooter in the Territory will seek to be licenced for recreational hunting and shooting, which will allow you to possess category A and B firearms. The most convenient way to get the genuine reason for an A/B licence in the top end is to attend the offices of the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics.
DIPL is located in:
Darwin: 1st floor, Energy House, 18 Cavenagh St. Enter through the glass doors, and take the elevators on the left.
Katherine: 1st Floor, Government Centre, 5 First St.
Alice Springs: Ground floor, Green Well Building, 50 Bath St
Alternatively you may apply via mail by downloading the forms on this page (https://nt.gov.au/leisure/hunting-and-shooting/safety-and-rules/shooting-on-vacant-crown-land) and sending them with a notarised copy of your current photo ID, and a cheque or money order made out to “Receiver of Territory Monies” to:
Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics
Crown Land Permit
GPO Box 1680
Darwin NT 0801
You may also attend one of the many clubs in the Territory and use a club membership as a genuine reason. The NT Firearms Council has a list of the clubs in the Territory from Darwin to Alice and all clubs in between. http://www.ntfirearms.com.au/nt-clubs
If sport shooting is more your thing, you may apply for a category C or H licence, though this requires membership at an appropriate club and has stricter storage conditions and mandatory participation requirements.
The firearms you can possess on an A/B licence include:
- Air rifles
- Rimfire rifles other than self loading (such as a bolt action .22lr)
- Shotguns other than self loading (no pump or semi-auto)
- Shotgun and rimfire combinations
- Muzzle loaded firearms
- Centrefire rifles other than self loading
- Shotgun and centrefire rifle combinations
The firearms you may possess with a category C or H licence include:
- Self loading rimfire rifles (max magazine capacity of 10 rounds)
- Self loading shotguns (max magazine capacity of 5 rounds)
- Pump action shotgun (max magazine capacity of 5 rounds)
At present, there are no provisions in the Act or Regulations for recreational licencing of category D firearms.
Step three: Safe storage
Storage is an essential component of your journey to being licenced. The ability to safely secure your firearms needs to be proven to the Police before they will process your application. There are three main categories of safe for firearm owners in the Norther Territory.
- A/B bolt down safe
- A/B heavy safe
All A/B safes are recommended to be made of metal 3mm thick or more, have secure hinges, be bolted down in at least two points, and have a minimum of two locking points. If the safe weighs over 150kg, then the safe does not need to be bolted to the wall or floor.
Category C and H safes require thicker metal in their construction, with a minimum of 6mm of metal on the door and 3mm on the remainder, although 6mm all over is recommended. Pistol safes may have one external lock. Long arm storage requires a safe with two or more external locks.
Step four: Test
One of the most important documents you will need to learn is the National Firearms Safety Code (https://pfes.nt.gov.au/sites/default/files/uploads/files/2019/National_Firearms_Safety_Code_1.pdf) . It provides guidance on how to safely handle firearms, and also teaches you some technical aspects of the average firearms. You will be tested on this when you apply for your licence, and you must attain a 100% score for the processing of your licence to be started. If you fail the test, you will have to wait 28 days to be able to take it again.
Step five: Buying your first gun
This is where your licence journey gets exciting. Walking into your local gun shop and selecting your first firearm. The choices will be overwhelming to someone without familiarity in firearms with all sorts of numbers being thrown around, such as 12 gauge, 308, 1-in9, 3×9 etc. The staff at all NT dealers are all very friendly and will help you make your decision.
So you found your first gun. It feels good in your hands, the action cycles comfortably, and it meets your shooting goals. Time to pay and go shooting right? Not so fast. For all firearms purchases you need to file a Permit To Acquire (PTA). The PTA is an essential part of registering your firearm, and needs to be submitted to, and approved by, the NT Police. This needs to be done prior to taking your firearm home. The wait on your first PTA in a minimum of 28 days, and it can be submitted on the same day as your licence application if you so wish.
Once your PTA arrives in the mail, you can take it in to your firearms dealer, pick up your firearm, and start enjoying life as a lawful firearm owner. Take note that the PTA is not a registration document. That will be sent to you in the coming days.
Important note: Firearms paperwork must be submitted in person at your local NT Police station. For Darwin area residents, you must take it to the Palmerston Police station, on Cook St, Farrar (behind the Palmerston GP Superclinic). The entrance for firearms paperwork is to the left of the main door, turn right at the railing, and through the side door.
The information in this guide is general in nature and we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the following:
NT Firearms Act 1997
NT Firearms Regulations 1997
National Firearms Safety Code