The Australian, state and territory governments share responsibility for firearms in Australia.
The Australian Attorney-General's Department administers the granting of permission to import certain types of firearms and firearm-related articles under the regulatory scheme set out in the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations).
Importing firearms and firearm-related articles
The importation of firearms and firearm-related articles (including accessories, parts, magazines, ammunition, components of ammunition and imitation firearms) is controlled under the Regulations. Articles can only be imported if they are included in the items listed in Part 2 of Schedule 6 of the Regulations, in accordance with the requirements corresponding to that item.
There are three requirements for importation:
- import tests
- serial numbers
- safety testing.
All firearms manufactured on or after 1 January 1900 must have a serial number and must comply with safety requirements outlined by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Suppressors cannot be imported for use by civilians.
Magazines (for category C and D firearms)
As of 15 December 2015, firearm dealers can import magazines under the dealer test to hold in their dealer stock. A vertebrate pest controller who wishes to have magazines released to them from dealer stock must apply under the certified buyer test.
The laws that regulate the sport of airsoft are a matter for the government of each state and territory.
The Attorney-General’s Department does not administer an import test for airsoft related articles, however permission is required to bring airsoft firearms into Australia.
Under the Regulations, airsoft firearms can generally be imported under the Police Certification test. This test is administered by the states and territories, and allows police forces in each jurisdiction to grant import permission to suitable applicants for certain firearms and firearm-related articles. Your local firearms registry will be able to provide you with information about how to make an application to import via the Police Certification test.
Stricter import controls apply to airsoft firearms which are substantially the same in appearance as fully automatic firearms. This is because they can be used for criminal activities, such as robberies. The realistic appearance also increases the risk that police and security officers confronted with an airsoft firearm that is substantially the same in appearance as a fully automatic firearm will believe that the risk posed is higher than it actually is, and respond accordingly.
National firearms and handgun agreements
The National Firearms Agreement and National Handgun Agreement were agreed to by states and territories at Australasian Police Ministers’ Council meetings in 1996 and 2002 respectively:
State and territory firearm registries
State and territory Police are generally responsible for administering firearms within Australia. The websites for state and territory firearms registries are below.
For information on exporting firearms, contact the Defence Export Control Office or the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
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