Importing category C firearms

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

Importing category C firearms

To import category C firearms into Australia, importers must first obtain the written certification of the police firearms or weapons registry in their State or Territory or written permission to import from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department prior to importation. 

Category C firearms (other than those firearms to which a firearm accessory is attached or integral) include:

  • semi-automatic rimfire rifle without a firearm magazine or fitted with a magazine of a capacity no greater than ten (10) rounds
  • semi-automatic shotgun 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 shotgun without a firearm magazine or fitted with a firearm magazine of a capacity no greater than five (5) rounds (restricted category C).

Police certification

Where a category C firearm is directly imported by a primary producer, the importer must obtain written certification of the police firearms or weapons registry in their State or Territory.

The police certification will be in the form of a B709A Importation of Firearms – Police Confirmation and Certification Form.

The authorised police representative must complete the category C field on the B709A Form.

The original B709A Form must be presented to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection at the time of importation.

You must also fulfil the additional requirements listed below.

Attorney-General's Department permission to import

Written permission to import must be obtained from the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department where the importation of these firearms is for one of the following purposes:

  • for the purposes of the government of the Commonwealth, or the government of a State or Territory or foreign government (official purposes)
  • for repairs, modification, testing and training (specified purposes)
  • for the purposes of a government contract, certain project or tender (specified purposes)
  • for use in the production of a film (specified purposes)
  • for the purposes of a sanctioned activity (specified purposes)
  • for the purposes of research or development by a known research or development importer for firearms or related defence and law enforcement products and the article is being imported is for the completion of a project or tender (specified purposes)
  • for demonstration or stock purposes (dealer test)
  • for use by professional rural pest controllers (specified person)
  • for use by sports shooters (sports shooter test)
  • for goods to be exported, or that have already been exported, and are returning to Australia (returned goods)
  • in exceptional circumstances (public and national interest tests).

Note: The requirements for category C firearms imported under the dealer test are detailed in this fact sheet.

The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department permission to import document must be presented to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection at the time of importation.

You must also fulfil the additional requirements listed below.

Sports shooters

Where a category C firearm is imported by a certified sports shooter or an international sports shooter, the importer must obtain written permission from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department prior to importation.

Certified sports shooters and international sports shooters are limited to importing restricted category C firearms only as listed above.

A certified sports shooter must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and be registered shooter with the Australian Clay Target Association (ACTA).

An international sports shooter must be travelling to Australia to compete in Olympic, Paralympic, or Commonwealth Games and associated events, or an event organised by the Australian Clay Target Association (ACTA). These goods must be exported by the international sports shooter.

Ammunition

Ammunition for use with category C firearms also requires police certification or Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department permission 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

Firearms are also subject to safety testing and unique serial number requirements.

Safety testing

All firearms being imported into Australia must undergo safety testing. Safety testing is performed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

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.

Obtaining permission to import

To obtain permission to import in the form of a B709A Form you will need to contact your State or Territory Police firearms and weapons registry.

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

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

Penalties

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

Exporting firearms

To export firearms see the information available on the Defence Export Control Office website.