Firearms acquired for collection purposes are subject to a number of conditions. The holder of a firearms licence endorsed for firearms collection must:
- Ensure that any Category D firearm in the collection is rendered permanently incapable of being fired;
- Ensure that any other firearm in the collection manufactured after 1 January 1900* is rendered temporarily incapable of being fired.
- Not possess any ammunition for any firearm in the collection unless it is stored in the prescribed manner;
- Not restore any firearm in the collection to a state in which the firearm can readily be fired*;
- Not discharge a firearm which forms part of the collection otherwise than in accordance with the specific approval of the Commissioner.
*A firearm rendered temporarily incapable of being fired may be temporarily rendered operable for the purposes of undertaking routine cleaning or maintenance, or for participation in an approved event (refer s. 47 (1A) Firearms Act 1996).
You are not required to hold a licence or register a firearm that was manufactured before 1 January 1900 and that was not designed to discharge cartridge ammunition or for which cartridge ammunition is not commercially available.
Such firearms are covered under a Commissioner’s Exemption, under an Application for Approval for Prohibited Pistol, that is subject to certain conditions, as follows:
- No ammunition capable of being fired by any such firearm is to be acquired, manufactured or possessed by the exemption holder or stored on the same premises as the firearm/s.
- The firearms are not to be carried in a public place or a motor vehicle unless they are carried in a closed bag or container.
- This exemption may be withdrawn at any time in respect of a named individual by notice in writing served on that individual.
- Owners of the above firearm/s must ensure that such firearms:
- are kept safely
- are not stolen or lost
- do not come into the possession of a person who is not authorised to possess them.
It is important to note that some pre-1900 firearms will accept commercially available cartridge ammunition and so are not covered under the exemption. Also you should not rely on the model number or designation to define the date of manufacture. If you are unsure, or for further information, feel free to contact Firearms Services.
Rendering a firearm temporarily incapable of being fired
Rendering a collection firearm temporarily incapable of being fired must involve:
- the removal and storage of the bolt or firing pin or both the bolt and firing pin in a locked container of an approved type that is kept separate from the firearm; or
- the application to the firearm of an approved trigger lock.
Note a person may temporarily render a firearm operable again for the purpose of routine cleaning or maintenance, or for participation in an approved event.
Rendering a firearm permanently incapable of being fired
Only a licensed firearms dealer can render a firearm permanently inoperable and you must be able to produce a letter from a dealer confirming the firearm has been made permanently inoperable in the prescribed manner.
To render a shotgun permanently incapable of being fired it must have a bore diameter mild steel rod inserted into the barrel of the firearm for a distance of 5 cm and fully welded flush to the muzzle. A 5cm long mild steel plug must also be inserted into the chamber and fully welded flush, the barrel welded to the receiver to prevent its removal and if the shotgun has a nipple, the nipple is to be blocked with weld.
To render any other firearm permanently incapable of being fired it must have:
- a bore diameter mild steel rod inserted into the barrel of the firearm, extending for the full length of the barrel, fully welded to the muzzle and finished flush and the chamber of the firearm, if applicable
- the barrel welded to the receiver to prevent its removal;
- the firing pin removed and the firing pin hole welded closed;
- removal of all internal springs or components that can be removed from the firearm without detracting from its external appearance;
- the trigger welded in a fixed position to prevent its function;
- weld applied to the internal components to prevent its function, if possible;
- each bolt, if any, welded in a fixed position;
- each external hammer, if any, welded in a fixed fired position to prevent its function;
- the action welded in a closed position to prevent its function;
- if it has a bolt action, weld applied to the bolt guide rail to prevent removal of the bolt;
- if the firearm has a nipple, the nipple is to be blocked with weld.
- A pistol with a revolving cylinder must also have a mild steel rod extending from the muzzle to a chamber of the cylinder and the cylinder is to be welded to the frame.
The Regulations also prescribe a minimum standard of weld in respect to rendering firearms permanently incapable of being fired. Refer to Regulation 10 (5) for further details.