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Private Firearm Licensing: 2 FAQs

by Maurice Carroll

A privately-owned firearm in the wrong hands is a time bomb waiting to explode. Once it explodes, the end result is something close to what happened in the (now infamous) Port Arthur massacre of 1996.

Gun control laws protect the average Australian citizen from the potential risk of having their safety compromised by private gun holders. This article answers two questions about the licensing of private guns for the benefit of those who might have an interest in owning a private firearm.

On What Grounds Can A Private Firearm License Be Issued?

Before a gun license is issued, an applicant is required to provide genuine reasons why he or she needs the firearm. Genuine reasons for gun ownership include, but they're not limited to, the following:

  • Recreational hunting
  • Sport shooting (For those who belong to gun clubs)
  • Vertebrate pest control in rural areas
  • Firearm collection (for those who belong to gun collector clubs). A firearm collection license will allow its holder to collect and own firearms, but it doesn't allow him or her to use the gun.

Contrary to what a large number of first-time applicants for a gun license may believe, the need for increased personal protection is not considered sufficient grounds for a gun license to be issued. 

When Can  A Gun License Be Denied Or Revoked?

Australian authorities can refuse to issue a gun license for a number of reasons. For example, in a large number of states, gun licenses will not be issued to persons suffering from physical or mental health conditions that would make them unfit to own and/or use a private firearm. Dementia is an example of the mental health conditions referred to.

A gun license may also be denied if a background check on the applicant reveals a history of domestic violence. Revocation of the license is also a possibility if such violence begins after the license has been issued.

Licenses can also be revoked if it's discovered that the minimum storage requirements for the firearm are not being met by the license holder. Many times, this discovery is made when law enforcement officers carry out an inspection of the firearm's ordinary storage address. The ordinary storage address is the primary location in which the gun is stored for the greater part of the year.

A criminal law specialist is perhaps the best person to seek more information from in relation to gun licensing and the legalities of owning a private firearm.