A couple of people have asked me about collecting in Australia. Many people have heard that all handguns are banned here and its almost impossible to own any firearm.
The truth is apart from a few adminsitrative differences all Australian states follow the same basic laws. Below are the laws in my state of Queensland.
- You have to get a police check if you do not already have a longarms license.
- You take the police letter saying you are a "Fit and Proper Person. to a pistol club.
- To get a handgun license you have to be a member of an approved pistol club.
- You have to do a minimum number of competition shoots a year (6 minimum)
- You have to do a 6 month probationalry period in the club before you can be licensed and do 3 comp shoots in this period.
- You can only shoot calibres up to .38 unless you have a special endorsement on your license.
- You can only get the endorsement if you shoot competitions that require lager calibres (Metalic Silhouette, Cowboy Action, etc)
- You can only own 1 c-fire or rimfire handgun in your first year of licenensing plus an airgun.
- You have to complete a handgun safety course (1 day)
Thats what you need to do to get your FIRST handgun. The process takes a minimum of 6 months, plus the time it takes to get your ploice check. Then there is a manditory 28 day wait before your license application is processed. Then it can take a few weeks to get your actual license in the mail.
Once you have your license you an go get your first handgun. Some clubs insist you start with a .22 and work your way up but its not law.
To get a handgun onto your license you have to:
- Find the gun.
- You need a letter/form from your club that it is an appropriate firearm for a competition held by the club.
- You need to fill out a 4 page application for what is called the "Permit to Acquire" which asks you to give a genuine reason for needing the gun and all the particulars of the gun and the disposer /seller.
- You submit the PTA form, letter from your club and pay the $31.10 fee to the local Police station.
- For your first gun there is another 28 day manditory wait before they will process your application.
- It can take up to 3 months to get the application through although I just had one come through in 10 days!
Under our laws you can not own cetain handguns unless you have a security license or a collectors or dealers license. Thes rules are:
- Revolvers with barrels shorter than 4" (100mm)
- Semi autos with barrels shorter than 5" (120mm)
- Hanguns (other than BP muzzel loaders or cap and ball) with calibres larger than .38
- Any handgun with a magazine capacity of more than 10 shots.
I also have a "Collectors License". There are 2 types - pre1947 and post 1947. I have both.To ge this license you have to go through the same initial porcess (safety course, club etc). But also the following:
- You have to be a member of a registered historical society or assn. (Like the SWCA)
- You have to give a detailed explanation in writing of the "theme" you will be collecting to. My "Themes" are "S&W handguns and Colt handguns" & "MIlitary and service revolvers and pistols" ...pretty broad themes but it keeps the authorities happy.
- If you try and collect a gun that does not fir your "theme" your PTA may be rejected.
- For pre1947 handguns you need to submit in writing an explanation of why the gun is collectable and how it fits your theme.
- For post 1947 handguns you have to do the same but also have a letter from you club saying that they agree the gun fits your theme.
- ANY gun on your collectors license needs to be kep "temporarily inoperative" ie must have a trigger lock as a minimum at all times.
- You are not allowed to shoot ANY gun on your collectors license apart from approved shoots organised by the collectors assn (currently only held twice a year)
To get my post 1947 license took me 3 years. I had to go therough all the porcesses I just layed out but it was worth it.
The laws here are restrictive but if you are a serious collector you will jum through the hoops. I think it was worthwhile as I have now built a nice little collection.
My collection currently consists of:
- 1972 Model 27-2 (6" barrel) .357 mag
- 1977 Model 28-2 Highway Patrolman (4" barrel) .357 Mag
- 1959 Model 28 4 screw Highway Patrolman (6" barrel) .357 Mag
- 1977 Model 29-2 Nickel Plated, presentation cased .44 mag (8 3/8" barrel)
- 1981 Model 29-2 Nickel Plated 44 Mag (8 3/8" barrel)
- 1994 Model 29-6 (6" barrel) .44 Magnum
- 1978 Model 66-1 .357 mag (6" barrel)
- 1966 Model 17-2 (K22) .22 Long Rifle
- 1941 "Victory" US PROPERTY GHD marked .38 Special (4' barrel)
- 1917 US Army Model .45 ACP (5" barrel) US PPOPERTY marked
- 1960 Model 12 Airweight, flatlatch .38 Spec. (2" Barrel)
- 1972 Model 59 (14 round mag)
- 1849 Colt Pocket Pistol .31 cal
- 1861 Colt Navy .36 cal
- 1963 Colt Python (4" barrel)
- 1965 Colt Python (6" barrel)
- 1910 Browning (cased with original cleaning gear and paperwork)
- 1851 Deane Adams & Deane .50 cal DAO cap and ball
- 1858 Beaumont Adams .45 cal, double action cap and ball.