Importing category C firearms

The importation of category C firearms is controlled under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations). Importers must obtain permission to bring firearms into Australia.

Category C firearms include:

  • semi-automatic rimfire rifles without a firearm magazine or fitted with a magazine of a capacity no greater than ten (10) rounds
  • semi-automatic shotguns without a firearm magazine or fitted with a magazine of a capacity of not greater than five (5) rounds (restricted category C)
  • pump-action repeating shotguns without a firearm magazine or fitted with a firearm magazine of a capacity no greater than five (5) rounds (restricted category C).

Category C firearms do not include firearms to which a firearm accessory is attached or integral.

To import category C firearms into Australia, police certification or written permission from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department is required prior to importing the firearms.

Obtaining permission to import

Police certification

Primary producers can obtain permission to import category C firearms into Australia through police certification. Forms can be obtained from your state or territory police firearms and weapons registry.

The police certification will be a B709A Importation of Firearms – Police Confirmation and Certification. The authorised police representative must complete the category C field on the B709A form.

The original B709A form must be presented to the Australian Border Force (ABF) at the time of importation.

Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department

To obtain permission to import from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, you will need to contact them directly.

Dealers

Dealers can obtain permission to import category C firearms from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department if the Attorney-General is satisfied the importer is licenced to deal in category C firearms. Limitations apply to who the dealer can sell category C firearms to, such as:

  • a certified buyer
  • the government of the Commonwealth, a state or a territory
  • a certified primary producer
  • if the firearm is a restricted category C firearm, a certified sports shooter for the firearm.

Sports shooters

Sports shooters and international sports shooters can apply to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department for permission to import restricted category C firearms.

Pest controllers

Permission to import category C firearms can be obtained from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department for importers whose occupation is partly or wholly the business of controlling vertebrate pest animals. This is subject to the importer having the necessary state or territory licence or authorisation to possess the firearms for the purpose of carrying out that occupation.

Contact details

Contact details of the police firearms and weapon registries and the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department are available at Firearms and Weapons.

Ammunition

Ammunition for use with category C firearms also requires police certification or permission from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department to be imported. When ammunition is being imported with the firearms, the ammunition can be listed on the same import document as the firearms.

See Importing ammunition, magazines and magazine extension devices for further information.

Additional requirements

Category C firearms are also subject to safety testing and unique serial number requirements.

Safety testing

The ABF will undertake safety testing of imported firearms unless exemptions apply.

Safety testing requirements do not apply to a firearm that:

  • was manufactured before 1 January 1900
  • is designed or adapted for competition target shooting
  • was previously exported from Australia and the importer can produce the export permit
  • is being imported temporarily for a lawful competition or hunting activity
  • is being imported for official or specified purposes
  • has been deactivated.

Unique serial number

All firearms being imported into Australia must have a unique serial number unless they were manufactured before 1 January 1900.

Penalties

The maximum penalty for importing these goods without the relevant import permission is a penalty not exceeding Australian dollar 450,000, imprisonment for 10 years, or both.

Exporting firearms

For information about exporting firearms, see Defence Export Controls on the Department of Defence website.