Individuals, organisations and government departments may hold a firearm licence for employment and recreational purposes.
To be eligible for a licence, you must:
- be a resident of Victoria or work with firearms in Victoria
- be 18 years and over for an adult licence, or, between 12 and 18 years for a junior licence
- provide certified copies of International Police Checks from any other country you have resided in for a period of more than 12 months over the previous 15 years since turning 16 years of age. International police checks will only be accepted from:
- the Embassy or Consulate General of the relevant country; or
- the relevant police agency of the relevant country; or
- the check provided to the Department of Home Affairs at the time of visa lodgement.
- be a fit and proper person
- be a non-prohibited person or have been deemed not to be prohibited by a court
- be able to demonstrate and maintain a genuine reason for needing a firearm licence
- have completed the relevant firearm safety course.
Firearm safety courses
Please feel free to continue accessing the firearm safety course resources below.
Anyone wishing to apply for a longarm licence will need to participate in a Victoria Firearm Safety Course and successfully complete a multiple choice test at the end of the course.
To make an application to participate in a safety course you should attend your local police station and lodge an application to attend a course in person.
It is preferable that you attend a safety course in your local area.
In the interest of providing efficient customer service, inquires relating to firearm safety courses should be emailed to your local Divisional Firearms Officer. You should include your:
- full name
- return telephone contact details
- general locality
Providing this information will assist DFOs to direct you to a safety course in your local area.
Firearm Safety Courses run on a user demand basis. Courses will not run if there are insufficient numbers. Once there are sufficient numbers to fill a safety course in your local area, you will be contacted by your DFO confirming the course details.
Reading the firearm safety code booklet will adequately help you prepare for the safety course and test.
For handgun licence applications, you will need to contact an approved handgun target shooting club to arrange your safety course. At the end of the course you will sit a short, written test of multiple choice questions and as well as a practical test.
Once you have completed the relevant firearm safety course, you must attach the completion certificate to the licence application form when you submit it to the Licensing and Regulation Division.
You will need to complete a Victorian Paintball Marker Safety Course if you wish to own paintball markers and hold a paintball marker licence. You will need to contact a paintball operator to book into the course. At the end of the course you will sit a short, written test of multiple choice questions.
You will need to complete a different firearm safety course to those listed above if you want to work with a firearm in the private security industry. Specifically, you will need to successfully complete the 'Control Security Risk Situations Using Firearms' unit of competency which is covered in the following courses:
- Certificate III Armed Guard
- Certificate III Cash-In-Transit
- Certificate III Combined Armed Guard and Cash-In-Transit
Fit and proper persons
The Firearms Act 1996 requires that you must be a 'fit and proper person' to possess, carry, use, acquire or dispose of a firearm. You may not be considered to be a fit and proper person if you have:
- a history of irresponsible handling of firearms
- been deemed to be a 'prohibited person'
- findings of guilt for crimes of violence
- not proven to be of good character
- a criminal history associated with firearms (eg. armed robbery, assault with a weapon, attempted murder and murder)
- provided false or misleading information to the police in a firearms matter
- a record of physical or mental illness which medical evidence suggests you should be excluded from owning or using firearms
- a record of drug or alcohol misuse which medical advice suggests you should be excluded from owning or using a firearm
- failed to possess sufficient knowledge and competency in the carriage and use of firearms (eg. you have not completed or failed the )
There may be other criteria that will prevent you from being considered a fit and proper person. Situations that fall outside the above guidelines will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Prohibited person status
A prohibited person is someone who must not be issued a firearms licence. A prohibited person will not be allowed to retain a firearms licence or possess, use or carry a firearm.
There does not need to be a formal declaration for someone to be considered a prohibited person; a prohibited person is a status. This means that a person is not declared prohibited person (for example, by a court), they automatically become one if they meet the definition provided in section 3 of the Firearms Act 1996.
There are two scenarios that will make someone a prohibited person.
- Being found guilty of specific criminal offences in Victoria or any other Australian State or Territory.
- Being made the respondent in a final intervention order under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 or the Personal Safety Intervention Order Act 2010 in Victoria or equivalent legislation in other states and territories.
Note: This advice is general in nature and may be of assistance to you; however, the Licensing and Regulation Division does not guarantee that the information here is wholly appropriate to your circumstances. Anyone needing specific legal advice should consult the relevant legislation or seek independent legal advice.
Prohibited person duration
How long you remain prohibited for depends on why you have been declared to be a prohibited person.
If you become prohibited because of criminal offending, you may remain prohibited for 12 months after being found guilty to 15 years after serving a term of imprisonment.
If you become prohibited because you are the respondent in a final intervention order you will remain prohibited for five years after the expiry of the intervention order unless you are deemed to be non-prohibited by a court.
Intervention orders and prohibition
An interim intervention order is a short-term order made by a magistrate.
A respondent in an interim intervention order is not considered a prohibited person; unless the order contains conditions or rules relating to firearms. Where a firearm condition exists they must be strictly observed.
You may be the respondent in an interim intervention order even if you were not at court or present when the order was made.
Even though as a respondent in an interim order you are not considered a prohibited person, your firearms licence may be suspended or cancelled.
Interim intervention orders remain in place until they expire or a determination on a final order is made.
A final intervention order is a longer term order where a magistrate believes a person needs protecting.
A respondent in a final intervention order is considered a prohibited person for the duration of the order and for five years after the expiry of the order.
You may be the respondent in a final intervention order even if you were not at court or present when the order was made. A prohibited person cannot be issued a firearms licence, allowed to retain a firearms licence or possess, use or carry a firearm.
Respondents in final intervention orders that do not contain conditions cancelling firearms licences, permits or authorities are eligible to make an application to be deemed non-prohibited under section 189 of the Firearms Act 1996.
Respondents in final intervention orders that do contain conditions cancelling firearms licences, permits or authorities are ineligible to make an application to be deemed non-prohibited unless the order is first varied to remove the firearms conditions.
If you are the respondent in a final intervention order that is revoked or expires, you remain prohibited for five years from the date the order was revoked or expired. For example, if your order was revoked or expired on 1 December 2018, you will remain a prohibited person until 1 December 2023.
So long as your intervention order did not contain firearms conditions, you can make an application under section 189 at any time during your prohibited period.
Intervention orders, both final and interim, can be issued with firearms conditions. These conditions can include the suspension of a firearms licence or the surrender of firearms for the duration of the order.
Firearms conditions must be strictly observed. Application to vary or remove these conditions can only be made at the Court that issued the intervention order and can be opposed by police or affected family members.
Respondents in final intervention orders are not eligible to make a section 189 application to be deemed non-prohibited if their intervention order contains conditions cancelling firearms licences, permits or authorities. People in this situation who want to make an application to be deemed non-prohibited would first need to make an application to vary the intervention order to remove the firearms condition before proceeding to lodge a section 189 application.
Under the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme Act 2016 domestic violence orders (DVOs) or intervention orders (IVOs) issued in states or territories other than Victoria are considered the same as orders issued in Victoria. If you are subject to an interstate DVO or IVO you may be considered a prohibited person and be ineligible to be issued with a firearms licence or possess, use or carry firearms in Victoria.
If you are a prohibited person as a result of being subject to an interstate intervention order, you should seek independent legal advice as to the avenues open to you.
Some prohibited people can apply to the court to be deemed non-prohibited.
Not all prohibited people can apply to the Court to be deemed non-prohibited under the provisions afforded in section 189 of the Firearms Act.
The only prohibited persons who can apply to the Court to be deemed a non-prohibited person are respondents subject to any final intervention order that does not include a condition that cancels a firearm licence, permit or authority; or a person who has been found guilty by an Australian Court in the past 12 months for:
an offence against the Act where it was possible to receive a term of imprisonment but one was not given
an offence against any other Act involving the possession or use of firearms where it was possible to receive a term of imprisonment but one was not given
an indictable offence against any Act where it was possible to receive a term of imprisonment but one was not given
To be deemed non-prohibited you must make an application to the Court under section 189 of the Firearms Act 1996. Section 189 application forms are available from any Victorian Court. When you lodge the application you will be given a hearing date by the Court.
The Licensing and Regulation Division cannot provide these forms to you or provide assistance in completing or lodging these forms.
If you became a prohibited person because of a matter heard in Victoria, your section 189 application form must be lodged at the same level of Court that heard the case that resulted in you being prohibited. For example, if your final intervention order matter was heard at the Magistrates' Court you must lodge your application with the Magistrates' Court.
If you became prohibited as a result of a criminal matter heard in a State or Territory other than Victoria or because of a final intervention order issued in a State or Territory other than Victoria, your section 189 application must be lodged with the Supreme Court of Victoria.
You are required to give the Chief Commissioner 28 days' notice of your application. The Court where you lodged your section 189 application will do that for you by forwarding a copy to the Licensing and Regulation Division.
If your final intervention order includes a condition cancelling your firearms licence, you are not eligible to make a section 189 application. To be eligible to make a section 189 application you will first need to make an application to the Court to vary the final intervention order to have the condition removed.
Once you have lodged your section 189 application, the Court will forward a copy to the Licensing and Regulation Division. In the case where there is an intervention order, Affected Family Members (or Protected Persons) will be interviewed as to whether they oppose the application.
If the Affected Family Members wish to oppose, police will usually support them. In some cases, police will decide to oppose the application even in the absence of Affected Family Member opposition.
If the application is opposed, it will usually be adjourned to a later date and police will file material on which they will rely in opposing the application. Applicants can also be ordered by the Court to file material to support their application.
If the application is not opposed, the Court will usually make a determination at the first hearing.
If the application is opposed, it will be set down for a contested hearing where the applicant may call witnesses and give evidence to support their application. Police can call witnesses such as affected family members and police members to give evidence opposing the application.
If your firearms licence was suspended as a result of a final order, so long as there are no other probity issues that concern the Chief Commissioner, the licence may be reinstated and the licence card returned to the licence holder.
If your firearms licence was cancelled prior to the application you will need to apply for a new firearms licence.
If your licence was suspended and your section 189 application was unsuccessful, your licence will be cancelled by Licensing and Regulation Division.
You will receive advice by post that your suspended licence has now been cancelled and that you have 28 days to have firearms stored at a police station, transferred to a licensed firearm dealer or surrendered for destruction.
You will remain a prohibited person until you make a successful section 189 application or until your prohibition period expires.
For information regarding Firearm Prohibition Orders please see: Firearm Prohibition Orders
Eligibility to use a silencer
To be eligible for a silencer, you should only need it for occupational use or similar.
Each application for a silencer permit will be considered on its merits and a determination will be made by the delegate of the Chief Commissioner.
Starter pistols and blank firing firearms
Whether you need a firearm licence to start a sporting event with a handgun or starting pistol will depend on which kind of pistol is being used. There are three typical kinds of starting pistols used in sporting events.
There are also blank firing firearms used in theatrical productions. These too may be subject to licensing restrictions. See the information sheet here.
Reviewed 29 June 2021