What is a Firearm?
A firearm is defined in section 4 of the Firearms Act 1996 "as a gun, or other weapon, that is (or at any time was) capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive, and includes a blank fire firearm, or an air gun, but does not include a paintball marker within the meaning of the Paintball Act 2018 or anything declared by the regulations not to be a firearm".
Who can possess and use a firearm?
A person must not possess or use a firearm, prohibited firearm or pistol unless the person is authorised to do so by a licence or permit.
All firearms used by licence and permit holders in NSW must be registered, except for firearms that are exempt from registration requirements. Firearms which are exempt from registration requirements include imitation firearms as defined by section 4D of the Firearms Act 1996, certain firearms manufactured prior to 1 January 1900 and items declared not to be firearms (see FACT Sheet below).
- Section 36(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 provides an offence for a person to supply, acquire, possess or use a firearm that is not registered.
- Sections 7(2)(a) & 7A(2)(a) of the Firearms Act 1996 provide for an offence if a firearm is used for any reason other than in connection with the genuine reason established by the person for possessing or using the firearm.
Firearms are grouped into various categories depending on their type, loading action, magazine capacity etc. Any person possessing or using a firearm must be authorised for that specific category of firearm by a current firearms licence or permit.
What is Ammunition?
Ammunition is defined in section 4 of the Firearms Act 1996 as:
- Any article consisting of a cartridge case fitted with a primer and a projectile, or
- Any article consisting of a cartridge case fitted with a primer and containing a propelling charge and a projectile, or
- Blank cartridges, airgun pellets, training cartridges or gas cartridges, or
- Any other article prescribed by the regulations for the purpose of this definition.
Who can possess ammunition?
Section 65(3) of the Firearms Act 1996 prescribes that:
A person must not possess ammunition unless the person is:
- The holder of a licence or permit to possess a firearm which takes that ammunition, or
- They are authorised to possess the ammunition by a permit.
What requirements must be met to acquire ammunition?
Sections 65 & 45A of the Firearms Act 1996 prescribe that ammunition for a firearm may only be supplied to a person who produces at the time of supply:
- Identification showing the name of the person acquiring the ammunition, and
- A current firearms licence or permit for a firearm that takes the type of ammunition being acquired, or
- A permit authorising the person to acquire the ammunition.
Fact Sheets and Brochures
- FACT Sheet - Introduction to Firearms (PDF)
- FACT Sheet - Ammunition Safe Storage, Acquisition and Possession (PDF)
- FACT Sheet - Things declared not to be firearms (PDF)
- FACT Sheet - Licence Categories and Firearm Types (PDF)
- FACT Sheet - Registration of Firearms (PDF)
- FACT Sheet - Transitional Arrangements - Lever Action Shotgun Re-Categorisation (PDF)
- FACT Sheet - Imitation Firearms (PDF)
- FACT Sheet - Antique Firearms (PDF)
- FACT Sheet - Firearm Magazines (PDF)
- Quick Guide - How to Dispose of a Firearm (PDF)
- Licence Categories and Genuine Reason Table (PDF)
- Firearms (Longarms) User Guide - Rights, Wrongs and Responsibilities (PDF)
- Ammunition no longer commercially available (PDF)
For further information:
For all enquiries regarding firearms contact the Firearms Registry Dealers Unit email: firstname.lastname@example.org.