Russian AK-47 Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle
Russian AK-47 Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle

Australian Government Media Release 16 June 2017

The National Firearms Amnesty will commence on July 1, giving Australians an opportunity to hand in unregistered and unwanted firearms and improve community safety.

This is the first nation-wide gun amnesty since 1996, when the Howard Government took decisive action following the devastation of the Port Arthur Massacre.

While there have been state-based amnesties since then, it is again time that we give every Australian the chance to dispose of firearms without fear of being prosecuted.

For three months, until September 30, anyone with unwanted and unregistered firearms or firearm-related items can legally dispose of or register them at approved drop-off points in each state and territory.

This is as much about giving a family a chance to get rid of an old heirloom as it is about getting rid of guns off our streets.

Sadly, as recent events have shown us, just one gun in the wrong hands can be deadly.

I encourage Australians to take this opportunity to help remove unregistered firearms from the community.

There is no cost involved with handing in firearms or related items for destruction, and

Outside of the amnesty period, anyone caught with an unregistered firearm could face a fine of up to $280,000, up to 14 years in jail, and a criminal record.

Information about individual state and territory requirements, including how and where to surrender firearms, can be found on the National Firearms Amnesty website or by calling 1800 909 826.

About the amnesty

From 1 July to 30 September 2017, anyone with unregistered firearms and firearm-related articles can hand them in to be registered, destroyed, or sold without being prosecuted for the purpose of handing those articles in.

The amnesty covers:

  • firearms
  • firearm parts, such as frames, receivers, barrels and trigger mechanisms
  • sound suppressors (silencers)
  • magazines
  • ammunition.

The term ‘firearms’ on this website is used to refer to unregistered firearms, and unregistered firearm-related articles. Both can be handed in as part of the amnesty.

There is no cost involved with handing in firearms for destruction. The registration and hand-in arrangements will depend on your state or territory. For example, in some areas, you may only be able to register firearms if you were already a licensed firearm owner before the amnesty started.

If you have an item you would like to hand in but it does not appear in the list above, contact your state or territory firearms registry for advice. You do not need to provide personal details as part of your enquiry.

What is an unregistered firearm?

In Australia, all firearms must be registered (except for some approved antique firearms). An unregistered firearm is one that is not registered with the relevant state or territory firearms registry under a current owner.

Examples of unregistered firearms include (but are not limited to):

  • grey market firearms long arms that should have been registered or surrendered during the 1996-1997 buyback, but were not)
  • firearms handed down to family members as part of deceased estates
  • firearms possessed by people who do not have the appropriate type of licence
  • firearms found on rural properties (that may have been left by previous owners).

If you have registered firearms that you no longer need, these may also be handed in. There is no limit to the number of firearm items you can hand in.

Registration and hand-in arrangements

Firearm hand-in arrangements are different in each Australian state and territory.

Some states and territory registries have specific arrangements before you hand-in your firearms. For example, you might be required to make an appointment if you are handing in firearms at a police station.

If you have concerns about handling firearms or safely transporting them, contact your state or territory firearms registry to seek advice. Loaded firearms should not be taken into a public place under any circumstances.

To find out whether you can register, sell or destroy your firearms or firearm-related articles, select your location:

You do not need to provide personal details if you choose to hand in firearms for destruction, except if you are in Western Australia. In WA, you will be asked to provide basic details so you can be issued a receipt.

Articles for registration or sale

If you seek to register or sell articles, you will be required to provide personal details. This is standard practice across Australia when selling or registering firearms and firearm-related articles.

If you apply to register firearms during the amnesty, those firearms will be stored at an approved location while the registration process takes place. Depending on your state or territory, this approved location may be a police station or licensed firearms dealer. You cannot possess the firearms during the registration process.

If your firearm registration is successful, the articles will be returned to you and you will need to comply with storage requirements as part of the licensing conditions.

If you are eligible to sell your unregistered firearm to a licensed firearms dealer, the sale will subject to private commercial arrangements between you and the dealer.

A voluntary survey is available to anyone participating in the amnesty. Surveys will be provided at drop-off points, and responses will be used to assess amnesty outcomes. You can choose to remain anonymous when providing your responses.

Articles for destruction

All items handed in during the amnesty are eligible for destruction.

Items which cannot be registered or sold will be destroyed. Compensation will not be paid for firearms handed in for destruction.

Drop-off points during the amnesty include police stations, mobile stations and licensed firearms dealers. You can search by postcode in our interactive map to find a drop-off point near you.

Penalties for having an unregistered firearm

Owning and using unregistered firearms carries risks for you, your family and your community. If you are found in possession of an unregistered firearm outside the amnesty, you may face a criminal conviction, a fine of up to $280,000 and/or 14 years in jail.

Unregistered firearms or firearm-related articles cannot be given to friends or family members who are licensed firearms owners. Firearms and firearm-related articles must be registered to an owner. If you give an article to a friend or family member, the item will remain unregistered and will be illegal to possess.

  • The Australian Government estimates there are more than 260,000 firearms in Australia’s illicit firearms market. Although unregistered firearms are not usually held by people with criminal intent, they can fall into the wrong hands. As unaccounted for firearms are difficult to recover, they can pose a greater threat than registered firearms that are lost or stolen. For example, the shotgun used by Man Haron Monis in the 2014 Lindt Café Siege was unregistered and impossible to trace.

If you suspect criminal activity, you can report this by calling Crime Stoppers Australia on 1800 333 000 or via the Crime Stoppers Australia website. You can choose to provide information anonymously.

Please note material sourced from two Australian Government Departments, Attributions and Copy Rights are listed below 

Media Release from Minister for Justice
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism
The Hon Michael Keenan MP