Obtaining a Firearms Licence in South Australia
It is illegal to have possession of a firearm without holding a firearms licence authorising possession of that firearm, unless it is exempted by the Act, Regulations or the Registrar. You must familiarise yourself and comply with all conditions of your licence and those set out in section 18 of the Act and Part 2, Division 2 of the Regulations. If you are in physical possession or control of a firearm, or are supervising the use of a firearm, you must carry your firearms licence or a legible copy (which can include an electronic copy).
Note that no Firearms Licence is required to visit or come and Try Shooting at a SSAA SA Club under the direct supervision of our instructors. However you must have photo ID and not be prohibited from using a firearm.
Categories Of Firearms
A Air guns; paint-ball firearms; rim fire rifles (not being self-loading); shotguns (not being self-loading or pump action); break action combination shotgun and rim fire rifles.
B Muzzle loading firearms (not being handguns); revolving chamber rifles; centre fire rifles (not being self-loading); multiple barrel centre fire rifles (not designed to hold additional rounds in a magazine); break action combination shotguns and centre fire rifles; all other firearms (except prescribed, handguns, self-loading firearms or pump action shotguns) that are not category A firearms.
C Self-loading rim fire rifles having a magazine capacity of 10 rounds or less; self-loading or pump action shotguns having a magazine capacity of 5 rounds or less.
D Self-loading rim fire rifles having a magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds; self-loading centre fire rifles; self-loading or pump action shotguns having a magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds.
H Handguns (not being prescribed firearms).
P Prescribed firearms, including automatic firearms, are defined in section 5 of the Act and regulation 7 of the Regulations.
Categories Of Licence
A firearms licence will be endorsed with the category (or categories) of licence for which a licensee can possess or use a particular category of firearm. These licence categories include:
- Shooting Club
- Target Shooting (not Club)
- Paint-ball Shooting
- Primary Production
- Security Guard
- Contract Shooter
- Commercial Range
- Shooting Gallery
Justification For A Firearms Licence
You must be a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence and have a genuine reason to possess a firearm to which an application relates. You may be required to provide additional information or documentation to support your application.
For further information about Categories of Firearms and Categories of Licence please see SAPOL Firearms Branch.
Step One: Make an Application
Depending on the type of firearm you need and what you will use it for, will determine how you fill out your application form, and if approved what training you will require.
The links below contain helpful information about obtaining your firearms licence and correctly completing your ‘Application for a Firearms Licence (PD303)’ form. The process can appear complex and it is important that you tick the correct boxes for your requirements. Therefore don’t hesitate to contact us and we will happily assist with any questions and guidance. It is preferred that you type your application (PD303) then print it.
A Guide to complete your Firearms Licence Application
SAPOL – Firearms Branch Home Page
SAPOL – Apply for a Firearms Licence
Step Two: Police Background Check
You will need to personally visit a Police Station with 100 points of identification to lodge your ‘Application for a Firearms Licence (PD303)’ form. Payment is also required (SAPOL Licence Fees). The Station will forward your application to Firearms Branch through the internal mail system. SAPOL will conduct a background check to verify if you are a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence. If you are considered a suitable person, Firearms Branch will send you a ‘Training Approval Letter’ advising you of the training you will be required to undertake. The training locations will differ depending on the Category of Licence. For example;
- For Category 1 (Shooting Club) – This category of licence authorises you to possess firearms for the purpose of use as, or by a member of, a shooting club. You will be required to arrange training through your club. The clubs training officer will provide you with the relevant information concerning the clubs specific training program and schedule.
- For Category 2 (Target Shooting), 3 (Hunting), 4 (Paint-ball Shooting) and 5 (Primary Production) – You will also need to undertake training through TAFE SA. Information of venues of courses is supplied with the ‘Training Approval Letter’.
- For Category 6 – a list of authorised security training instructors will be supplied with the ‘Training Approval Letter’. Justification will also include proof of employment with a licensed security company.
Step Three: Training
The next step for the applicant is to undertake the safety and practical training. This varies depending on the Category of Firearm and Category of Licence involved.
Licence Category 1 (Shooting Club)
Training for Licence Category 1 (Shooting Club) is held at SSAA Clubs where SAPOL Accredited Firearm Safety Training Instructors conduct regular approved courses. Its best to explore a few clubs to find one that shoots the types of firearms and disciplines that you are interested in.
Note that Clubs are not able to provide any training until they see your ‘SAPOL Approval To Undertake Club Training Letter’.
Training consists of both safety and theory along with practical lessons. Courses and durations depend on the Categories of Firearms, club regulations, shooting disciplines, and the trainees competency. Check with your club for specific details, the cost and to book your training.
Once the applicant has successfully completed training, club officials will sign off a ‘Certificate of Training (PD314)’ for the appropriate Licence Categories A1, B1 and/or H1.
If you hold a Category 1 (Shooting Club) licence you must be a member of a shooting club for each year of your licence.
You are required to notify the Registrar within 28 days of becoming a member of a shooting club and provide contact details of the club, regardless of whether you already have membership of any other shooting club.
Licence Category 2 (Target Shooting), 3 (Hunting), 4 (Paint-ball Shooting) and 5 (Primary Production)
Training for Licence Category 2, 3, 4 and 5 is done through TAFE SA. These courses are one full day and have a theory and practical component. The courses are held at Regency plus a number of country areas across the state.
For further information see TAFE SA Courses or phone 1800 882 661.
A couple of items to note prior to starting any training for Licence Category 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Applicants wishing to apply for Licence Category 3 (Hunting) will also need to apply for a hunting permit with the Department for Environment and Water (DEW). Information and permit applications can be found here DEW. If you select Licence Category 5 (Primary Production) then you will be required to provide evidence that you are either the operator, employee or relative of a primary production business.
Step Four: Completion of Training
When justifications and a ‘Certificate of Training (PD314)’ are received from the club or TAFE, Firearms Branch will send you a ‘data card’ with which you attend at a photo point and again provide your 100 points of identification. An ‘interim licence’ is issued which is valid until you receive your photographic licence (normally about a month).
Handguns (H1) Graduated Access
Division 2—Special provisions relating to licence categories
14—Category 1 (shooting club) licences(3)(e) in the case of a licence authorising the licensee to possess a category H firearm for use as a member of a shooting club—
(i) the licensee must be an active member of a shooting club for each licence year of the licence; and
(ii) the licensee may only possess a category H firearm if the licensee has held a category 1 (shooting club) licence authorising the possession of a category H firearm for 6 months or more; and
(iii) unless the licensee has held a category 1 (shooting club) licence authorising the possession of a category H firearm for 12 months or more, the licensee is limited to the possession of handguns as follows:
(A) one .177 calibre air pistol or one .22 calibre rim fire handgun (long rifle or short) or one centre fire handgun;
(B) one .177 calibre air pistol and one .22 calibre rim fire handgun (long rifle or short);
(C) one .177 calibre air pistol and one centre fire handgun;
(6) Subregulation (3)(e) does not apply to muzzle‑loading handguns or percussion cap and ball handguns.
Renewing for Licence Category 1 (Shooting Club)
When your Licence is due for renewal you need to take your existing Licence and any required documentation to a photo point.
Long Arms (A1 B1)
Long arms licences are either 1, 3 or 5 years. In 2017 Firearms Branch initiated a policy change with regard to Club Chits.
There is no requirement to submit chits for A or B category activities. Clubs/individuals are only required to submit Club Chits for category C or H club use.
SSAA SA Club Secretaries are required by law to inform SAPOL within 28 days of anyone who is no longer an active member.
Handgun licences are either 1 or 3 years. Renewing your Handgun (H1) licence requires you to submit a yearly Club Chit detailing a legally required number of attendances. Annually you must participate in at least 6 Club organised competitive shooting matches for any single Handgun Category that you hold. If you have Handguns from multiple Categories, then a minimum of 4 matches for each Category is required.
Category 1 – air or gas operated handguns
Category 2 – .22 calibre rimfire handguns (long rifle or short)
Category 3 – centrefire handguns of not more than .38 calibre
Category 4 – handguns of more than .38 calibre