Dealing in firearms

As the holder of a firearm dealer licence you have a number of obligations and responsibilities under the legislation.

  • All firearms transactions must be conducted through a licensed firearms dealer.
  • When you import a firearm you must undertake steps to have it registered within 7 days of receiving it.
  • You cannot sell a firearm to another person unless that person has a permit to acquire that firearm and has a licence authorising them to possess it.
  • You can only purchase, acquire or take possession of a firearm from people who hold a firearms licence of the appropriate category, other dealers or if the person is surrendering the firearm in accordance with Section 109 (1) of the Act.

Surrender of firearms by unauthorised people

Firearms may be surrendered to a police officer or a licensed firearms dealer under the Act. The process a dealer must follow upon receiving a firearm upon surrender is outlined in Regulation 14A of the Regulations.  The Flowchart for surrendering firearms to a dealer by unauthorised person summarises the process.

It is important to note this process is different to that regarding the surrender of ‘inherited’ firearms (refer next section).


Inherited firearms

There are specific processes a dealer must follow when receiving an inherited firearm.

When a person dies, any firearms in that person’s possession must be delivered to a holder of a firearms licence of the appropriate category (if registered), or a police officer.

The firearm must then be kept in safe custody until it is lawfully claimed by a beneficiary. A beneficiary or other approved person (refer s. 147 (2) (a) of the Act) can request the firearm be delivered to a licensed firearms dealer for sale.  A dealer who receives an inherited firearm possesses it as an agent and is entitled to charge the prescribed fee, or a reasonable amount, for services in acting as agent.


Advertising for sale

An advertisement offering any firearm, firearm part or ammunition for sale can only be made by, or arranged through, a licensed firearms dealer.


Mailing or delivering firearms

Only dealers can send firearms, firearm parts or ammunition to another person by mail.  Within Tasmania a dealer can only send a firearm, part or ammunition to another dealer.

A dealer can send firearms, firearm, firearm parts or ammunition to another person outside Tasmania who is lawfully able to receive it in that jurisdiction, provided it is sent by mail, or freight that requires delivery in person and their signature.

Dealers should also be cognisant of the general requirements when conveying or transporting firearms. See: Transporting Firearms Requirements.


Premises requirements

Naturally, there are more stringent requirements on firearms dealers in respect to the premises where firearms are stored as part of their business.  The legislation requires that all reasonable steps are to be taken to secure the premises and the place of storage from unlawful entry.

An anti-intrusion alarm that is able to detect, to the maximum extent reasonably practicable, any unauthorised entry to the premises or place or any unauthorised interference with any firearm must be installed and activated at any time the premises are unoccupied/

The premises must be in a structurally sound condition, and any access doors, windows, skylights or other covers of openings giving access and their locks, bolts, hinges and other fastenings must be:

  • capable of being secured against unlawful entry
  • be strong, stout and in good condition

When a firearm is not in the physical possession of the dealer or employee, or not being displayed to a customer under the immediate continuous personal supervision of the dealer or employee, it must be either:

  • dismantled, rendered temporarily incapable of discharging a shot, bullet or other missile by the removal of a part of the firing mechanism or otherwise, and the part stored in a locked receptacle of an approved type kept separate from the receptacle containing the firearm;
  • secured in a manner that prevents it from being readily removed and fired, whether in a display cabinet, rack or otherwise, or;
  • locked up in a metal container of sturdy construction that is secured to the premises, a metal safe of sturdy construction or a steel and concrete strongroom of sturdy and sound construction.

Record keeping

As a dealer you must keep a record of all dealings with firearms and firearm parts.  The record must be in an approved form, numbered sequentially, made within 24 hours of any transaction and kept for a period of 6 years.  Records must also contain the following particulars:

  • name and address of any other person involved in the dealing;
  • number of the other person’s licence or permit authorising the person to possess the firearm or firearm part;
  • number of the other person’s permit to acquire the firearm;
  • for any firearm or firearm part in the possession of the firearms dealer –
    • the date of its purchase or receipt
    • the date of its sale or transfer out of the possession
    • the make, serial number, calibre, type, action and any magazine capacity;

Where you are acting as an agent in any dealing between licensees, your record must also contain:

  • the names and addresses of the licensees involved
  • the numbers of the licences or permits authorising the licensees to possess the firearm or firearm part;
  • the numbers of the permits of the licensees to acquire the firearm;
  • the date of receipt of the firearm or firearm part by the firearms dealer;
  • the date of the sale and purchase of the firearm or firearm part;
  • the make, serial number, calibre, type, action and any magazine capacity of the firearm or firearm part.

Any firearm in your possession (other than those in your possession for repair) must also be labelled.  The label must show the entry number for that firearm as entered in the dealings record; and any identifying number of that firearm.

A copy of an entry in a dealings record is to be sent to the Commissioner as and when required.  If required to do so by the Commissioner, a licensed firearms dealer must keep a record in an approved form of all of the dealer’s dealings with ammunition.

You cannot erase or obliterate an entry in any dealings record.  Alterations may only be made by interlineation or striking out.

All records must be kept in a place of safekeeping on the premises and kept separate from the place in which firearms are kept.


Inspections by police

At any reasonable time, a police officer may enter and inspect any premises specified in a firearms dealer licence as the business premises and examine any firearm or ammunition on those premises.  As a dealer you are also required, when demanded by a police officer, to:

  • produce any record and permit the officer to make copies of any entries in it
  • produce all firearms, firearm parts and ammunition in your possession
  • provide any information in your possession relating to any firearm, firearm parts and ammunition that is in your possession, you have sold, transferred, repaired or has been manufactured, purchased or received under the authority of your firearms dealer licence.

Quarterly returns

All dealers are required to submit quarterly returns within 14 days after the end of the months of March, June, September and December in each year.


Employees

As a dealer any person you employ is required to obtain a firearm dealers employee licence before they can handle firearms or ammunition as part of their employment.

You must also ensure you do not allow any of the below people to act as an agent, participate in the management of the business or be employed in any role that gives them access to firearms or ammunition under your licence:

  • A person who has had a firearms dealer licence cancelled in the past 10 years
  • A person who has had any other firearms licence cancelled or application refused in the past 10 years because they were nor considered a fit and proper person or it was contrary to the public interest;
  • A person subject to a restraint order, family violence order, police family violence order or any interim order in force in any jurisdiction
  • A person subject to a good behaviour bond relating to an offence of or involving violence
  • A person subject to a firearm prohibition order.

For further advice about your obligations in respect to employees contact Firearms Services.