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Firearm classifications


Firearms and imitation firearms are regulated in Victoria under the Firearms Act 1996 (the Firearms Act) and Control of Weapons Act 1990 respectively.

To assist you to identify the key differences between devices and the requirements for these devices you should refer to the What is a Firearm document below.

If your item has been determined to be a firearm and you wish to retain the item lawfully, you can submit an application for firearms licence. See:

Alternatively, if your device has been determined to be an imitation and you wish to retain the item lawfully you can make an application for Chief Commissioner's Approval. See:

Firearm reclassification

Amendments made in 2008 to the Firearms Act gave the Chief Commissioner limited powers to reclassify firearms. As the Chief Commissioner's delegate, the Superintendent of the Licensing and Regulation Division may reclassify firearms ordinarily classed as category A, B or C longarm to category D or E longarms.

This may happen when a firearm has been designed or adapted for military purposes or substantially duplicates a 'militaristic-type' firearm in design, function or appearance.

Firearm reclassifications are assisted by the Classification Review Committee. The Committee also advises the superintendent on the need to regulate other items not covered by the Firearms Act and consists of the following representatives:

  • a representative with knowledge relating to firearms legislation and regulations
  • a police member of Senior Sergeant rank or above, generally the firearms portfolio holder from Licensing and Regulation Division
  • a representative from industry with substantial experience in firearms
  • a representative from a law enforcement agency external to Victoria Police with extensive firearms technical expertise
  • a representative from Licensing and Regulation Division with comprehensive knowledge of the firearm importation process

Reclassified Firearms

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Imitation firearm, replica firearms and other firearm paraphernalia and toys

There is a wide variety of firearm-themed items marketed to children and firearm enthusiasts. Depending on the overall appearance and function of these items, some may be classified as a registrable firearm, a replica firearm or an imitation firearm. Appropriate authorisation is required in order to possess, carry or sell these items in Victoria regardless of the intent of the manufacturer.

Generally, if an item cannot be mistaken for a working firearm by a reasonable person and does not have the function of a firearm, it will be treated as a toy firearm or other firearm-themed paraphernalia and can be owned without a licence or other authority.

However, items that have the appearance of a working firearm, even where they do not function as one, are classified as imitation firearms. As imitation firearms can cause public alarm, only people with a Chief Commissioner's Weapons Approval or Governor in Council Exemption can possess, carry or offer them for sale in the State of Victoria.

Replica firearms are not the same as imitation firearms. Replicas are working copies of an original firearm and anyone in possession of a replica must register it and be the holder of the appropriate firearms licence.

To assist you to identify your item, you should refer to the Quick Guide to Imitation, Toy & Other Firearm Paraphernalia

If you are still uncertain about whether a 'toy' fits into the definition of an imitation firearm or firearm based on these guidelines, Licensing and Regulation Division recommends that you seek independent legal advice.


Licensing and Regulation Division receives queries regarding the status of certain devices that are readily available for sale in the community. In these situations, Licensing and Regulation Division uses the Firearms Act 1996 and the Control of Weapons Act 1990 as points of reference to make determinations regarding the regulation of items to ensure that a consistent approach is taken in the community.

Licensing and Regulation Division has made determinations regarding the following items:

Contact us

Get in touch about firearms licensing through our online enquiry form.

Reviewed 15 September 2023

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