How to apply for a firearms licence in QLD

Hunting in QLD
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Applying for a firearms licence in Australia can seem like a monumental task. Not only do the rules, eligibility criteria and application processes differ depending on which state you are applying in, but government employees have a particular skill for writing the most confusing application processes known to man! That’s why we created a series that simplifies the process and provides simple, step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a firearms licence in your state or territory. However, if there was a prize for the most confusing, complex and maddening application process in Australia, we are confident that Queensland would win the gold medal. Their firearms application process has a dizzying 23 different genuine reasons, a barrage of annexes and additional forms that need to be filled out, and a fee schedule that almost requires a Masters in Mathematics to calculate! If you are interested in applying for a firearms licence in Queensland, we have waded through dozens of interlinking websites and forms to put all the information together for you in one place. 

For starters, in Queensland, firearms licences are (perhaps unwisely) called weapons licences. While it may seem like semantics, we prefer the term firearm over weapon, as the latter has very negative connotations involving violence that can make the non-hunters in society freak out, so for the purposes of this article, we will use the term firearm instead of weapon.

In Queensland, you must have a valid firearms licence to own or use a firearm, crossbow, powerhead (for use underwater), or paintball marker, and firearms licensing is managed by the Queensland Police Service.

Like every other state and territory in Australia, to be able to hold a firearms licence in Queensland, you must first prove that you are eligible.

Eligibility criteria 

To be eligible to apply, you must reside in Queensland (and only in Queensland), be aged between 11 and 17 years old for a minors licence or over 18 for an adult licence.  

You must have a genuine reason for needing a firearms licence. There are 23 different genuine reasons, which we will explore soon.

You must have completed an approved firearms safety course. In Queensland, these are accredited courses, which are run by a number of different providers. The course number is 10618NAT. 

If you plan to purchase and own firearms, you must have a safe and secure place to store them.  

According to the Queensland Weapons Act 1990, any person wishing to apply for a firearms licence in Australia must be deemed a fit and proper person to have access to firearms. There are a lot of factors that go into determining fit and proper including mental and physical health, criminal history, history of violence, etc. We recommend reading the full act if you are interested in learning what constitutes fit and proper. However, the short version is that you will need to satisfy the Commissioner that you will not use the firearm for any unlawful activity or to harm yourself or another person. 

If you currently hold or have previously held a firearms licence in another Australian state or territory, you may be able to apply for a transfer without having to resit the course, however this does remain at the discretion of Queensland Police Service.  

If you meet all of the above eligibility criteria, and can provide 100 points of ID, you can apply for a QLD Firearms Licence online at https://www.police.qld.gov.au/webform/application

Alternatively, you can submit a hard copy using this form – https://www.police.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-10/Form%201%20%28WL%29%2029102020%20-%20secured.pdf

Queensland Police have partnered with Australia Post to (hopefully) make the process more simple. For more information on this, check out https://www.police.qld.gov.au/weapon-licensing/new-licence-applications-frequently-asked-questions

Calculating your fees

Like we mentioned in the introduction, Queensland are going for gold when it comes to making their information as complex as possible.

Most states provide a standard price depending on whether you want a 1, 2 or 5 year licence. Queensland makes you do the maths yourself.

First, you must pick the number of years you want to apply for (and hope there are no wrong answers as there are no guidelines to explain what the maximum number of years is).

Then you must calculate the total fee based on application cost plus relevant license fee multiplied by the number of years you want to apply for.  

The application fee for applying for any firearms licence is $110.95.

The annual licence fee depends on the type of licence you are applying for, and to make things super confusing, there are 16 different types of firearms licences you can apply for in Queensland!

So, if you were wanting to apply for a standard firearms licence (Cat A or B) for 1 year, the fee would be $147.60 (calculated as $110.95 application fee + $36.65 annual licensing fee). For 5 years, the fee would be $294.20 (calculated as $110.95 application fee + $36.65 annual fee x 5 years). 

Click here to see the full schedule of fees for Firearms Licences in QLD. Note that they also charge $21.15 as an administrative fee if your application is refused for any reason. 

Genuine Reasons

Most states have around 8 – 10 genuine reasons for holding a firearms licence. In QLD, there are a staggering 23 genuine reasons! 

While you can choose multiple reasons, you must be able to provide evidence for each one, and there’s a dizzying array of additional forms that must be completed and submitted for each genuine reason.

For a more in-depth look at the types of evidence you will be required to provide, check out https://www.police.qld.gov.au/weapon-licensing/firearms-licence-supporting-documents

Just remember that, nowhere in Australia is it legal to hold a firearms licence for the purpose of personal protection or protection of property unless you are applying as a security guard. 

We will not go into all 23 genuine reasons, as some are way beyond the scope of this website. However, below we have outlined some of the more common reasons for applying for a firearms licence.

These include: 

Recreational shooting on rural lands

In QLD, there is no public land hunting, which means recreational hunting can only be conducted on private land. To use this as a genuine reason, you must be able to prove you are the owner, lessee or manager of a suitable rural property, or that you have permission from one of these to hunt on the property (this is done by completing Form 1 – Annexure for Recreational Shooting/Recreational Fishing and submitting it with your application. 

You can actually save yourself some time (and plenty of headaches) by joining a hunting club in Queensland, as many of these have been authorised as a genuine reason, and can also arrange access to private land for recreational hunting. 

For example, if you’re a financial member of Game Hunters Association of Australia you can hunt on any of their approved properties. 

Australian Deer Association also arrange hunting trips, and you can book hunting stays in Queensland with Inland Hunting Properties.

Sport/Target Shooting

To use this as a genuine reason, you must be a current financial member of an approved Sports or Target Shooting Club.

A few things to note about this genuine reason. The club must be authorised to conduct target shooting for the category of firearm you are applying for. For example, if your club is only approved to conduct shooting activities for Categories A & B firearms, you would only be able to use it to apply for a Category A and/or B licence. You could not use these clubs to apply for a Category H firearms licence unless that range was also authorised for handguns. 

Because the QLD government love their forms, to apply using this genuine reason, you will also need to submit Form 1 – Annexure – Sports or Target Shooting with your application.

Also note that, if you are applying for a Category C licence, you must also provide a medical certificate to state why you require a Category C shotgun to take part in clay target shooting.

There are a huge number of authorised clubs in Queensland. To find one near you, check out: 

Queensland Rifle Association

Sports Shooters Association of Queensland

Queensland Target Sports

Primary Producer

Primary producers can apply for a firearms licence to help with managing livestock and pest species in association with farming & grazing activities. You must be able to provide proof of ownership or management of land, as well as proof of occupation (ie, livestock or crop sales, or purchases of farming equipment). You must also provide a completed Annexure for Primary Producer form for each property you intend to shoot on as part of your primary production activities.

Occupational – Rural Employee

If you work on a farm and require a firearms licence, you can use this as a genuine reason.

You must be able to provide 3 current and consecutive payslips as proof of employment, and complete the Annexure for Rural Employee form for each property you intend to shoot on.

Other genuine reasons: 

Below is a list of the other genuine reasons you can use to apply for a firearms licence in Queensland. As you can see, the vast majority are occupational categories, with only a small handful of recreational reasons. Each one has its own hoops to jump through, which you can find on the Queensland Police website.

  • Gun dog retrieval
  • Military re-enactment/historical demonstration
  • Occupational – abattoir
  • Occupational – accredited game meat harvester
  • Animal controller
  • Occupational – biopsy gun
  • Occupational – commercial fisher
  • Occupational – commercial wildlife harvester
  • Occupational – feral animal controller
  • Occupational – government service entity
  • Occupational – livestock transporter
  • Occupational – mobile butcher
  • Occupational – paintball gallery employee
  • Occupational – prawn/fish farm
  • Occupational – veterinary surgeon/nurse
  • Paintball club
  • Qualified weapons employee
  • Recreational – approved weapons club
  • Recreational – fishing (powerhead)

Firearms Categories

In QLD, there are several different categories of Firearms Licence, each with different genuine reasons that apply to that particular category. QLD Police have provide a detailed list of information for each category, which you can view on their website, however, we have summarised these below: 

Category A

This consists of rimfire rifles, single or double barrel shotguns, paintball guns, air rifles, and powerheads. 

Category B

This consists of centre-fire rifles (other than semi-automatic), shotgun/rifle combinations, lever action shotguns with a magazine capacity of no more than 5 rounds, and muzzle loading firearms. 

Category C

This consists of firearms that are generally prohibited except for limited purposes including semi-automatic or pump action shotguns (no more than 5 rounds) and semi-automatic rimfire rifles (no more than 10 rounds). 

Category D

This consists of firearms that are generally prohibited except for limited purposes including semi-automatic centre-fire rifles and semi-automatic shotguns (capable of more than 5 rounds), semi-automatic rimfire rifles (capable of more than 10 rounds) and lever action shotguns with a magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds). 

Category E

This is a special category in QLD that consists of bulletproof vests and protective body armour. 

Category H

This category consists of pistols including blank fire pistols and air pistols under 75cm in length. 

Category M

This consists of crossbows, certain knives and other hand held items capable of causing bodily harm. 

Category R

This consists of machine guns, and fully automatic large calibre military weapons, hand grenades, antipersonnel devices, silencers, rocket launchers and artillery including replicas and historical pieces that are not toys. 

Restricted items

Queensland also has a list of restricted items, including handcuffs and restraints, nunchaku, batons, studded gloves and laser pointers! 

What category and reason should you choose?

A lot of first time applicants get confused trying to decide which category of firearm to apply for and what genuine reason they should select. Some may even think it is easier to just apply for one category/reason and not complicate things by applying for multiple categories and reasons. 

The most common combination for a recreational hunter or shooter in QLD is a Category A & B licence with the genuine reason of recreational shooting on rural land, and sports/target shooting. This allows you to purchase and lawfully use most bolt-action rifles and break-action shotguns for the purposes of both hunting and target shooting (including clay pigeon shooting), and to get in some time at the range. 

You might also like to check out the other articles in this series, which includes “How to apply for a firearms licence in Tasmania“, “How to apply for a firearms licence in Victoria“, and “How to apply for a firearms licence in NSW“. 

What is I Am Hunter?

I Am Hunter wants to change the way hunting is perceived and to change the conversation from a negative one driven by anti-hunters to a positive one led by hunters.

Our goal is to help hunters become positive role models and ambassadors for hunting, while simultaneously helping non-hunters understand why hunting is important. 

You can become a supporter and help us achieve our goal and spread a positive message about hunting with the wider community. 

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