Your genuine reason for possessing or using a firearm will determine the category of licence for which you may apply. The category of licence will also determine the type of firearm you will be authorised to use and possess. It is possible to make application for a licence for more than one category of firearm if you are able to satisfy the Commissioner of Police that you have a genuine need for each category.
When selecting the category of firearms licence you wish to obtain as part of your application you must:
- Identify your genuine reason for using or possessing a firearm and tick the appropriate box or boxes.
- Identify the Categories of firearm that coincide with your genuine reason and tick the appropriate box or boxes.
- Provide supporting documentation as required for your genuine reason and category.
The categories of firearms licences are as follows:
Category A Firearms
- Air rifles
- Rimfire rifles other than self loading
- Shotguns other than pump action or self loading, and
- Shotgun and rimfire rifle combinations.
A Category A firearms licence may be issued for any of the genuine reasons described in the Act.
Category B firearms
- Muzzle loading firearms
- Centrefire rifles other than self loading, and
- Shotgun and centrefire rifle combinations.
A Category B firearms licence may be issued for any of the genuine reasons described in the Act, however you must also produce evidence to satisfy the Commissioner of Police that there is a need to possess or use a firearm of this Category (ie: the reasons why a Category A firearm would not be sufficient).
Category C Firearms
- self-loading rim-fire rifle with a magazine capacity of no more than 10 rounds of ammunition; and
- self-loading shotgun with a magazine capacity of no more than 5 rounds of ammunition; and
- pump action shotgun with a magazine capacity of no more than 5 rounds of ammunition.
A Category C licence is only available to a primary producer or a person employed or engaged in primary production, or a bona fide collector subject to certain conditions. The holder of a Category C licence endorsed for primary production may only possess or use two Category C firearms – one self-loading rim-fire rifle (≤ 10 rounds) and one of either of the other two types.
Category D Firearms
- self-loading centre-fire rifle
- self-loading shotgun with a capacity of more than 5 rounds of ammunition; and
- pump action shotgun with a capacity of more than 5 rounds of ammunition; and
- self-loading rim-fire rifle with a magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
A Category D licence is only available to a professional shooter who can prove their principal occupation is the controlling of vertebrate pest animals, or a bona fide firearms collector subject to certain conditions.
Category H Firearms
A Category H licence applies to any pistol (including revolvers) or air pistol and is only available for the genuine reasons of sport/target shooting, business/employment of firearms collection. This includes members of approved pistol clubs, persons employed as firearm dealers or their employees, security agents and guards or bona fide collectors (subject to certain conditions).
Once you receive a Category H licence there is a 6 month waiting period before you are able to buy a handgun. You must have been a member of an approved pistol shooting club for at least 6 months. For this reason, if you want to buy a handgun, you should apply to become a member of a club as soon as (or before) your application for a Category H licence is granted.
There are a number of restrictions on the types of Category H firearms a Category H licence holder may possess and use at any one time.