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An illegal gun is a dangerous gun, for you and your family. 

Say something before it is too late. 

Because no illegal guns in our community is our aim.

More Information

Each state and territory have their own requirements about penalties, what can be surrendered, registered or sold.
To learn more state specific information, please click on your state or territory below:

ACT   NSW   NT   QLD   SA   TAS   VIC   WA

Firearms In Australia

In 1996, the federal government and the states and territories agreed to a uniform approach to firearms regulation, including a ban on certain semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, standard licensing and permit criteria, storage requirements and inspections, and greater restrictions on the sale of firearms and ammunition.

Firearms licence applicants are required to take a safety course and show a “genuine reason” for owning a firearm, which cannot include self-defence.

A national buyback program for prohibited weapons took place in 1996-1997 and resulted in more than 700,000 weapons being surrendered.

The Australian Government’s objective is to foster a sustained community commitment to a safer Australia not driven through profit, as per the buy-back scheme, but through an individual’s social responsibility to hand in or register unregistered firearms, parts, and ammunition through a permanent national firearms amnesty.

Black market firearms are used for criminal purposes and find their way to the black market via illicit importation, illicit manufacture, and theft from registered and unregistered guns.

The grey market is a subset of the black market. Grey market firearms are those that should have been handed in or registered following major firearm reforms in 1996. The possession of a firearm that was not surrendered in 1996 or registered is illegal.

New research from the University of Sydney (28/4/21) has found that Australian civilians now own more than 3.5 million registered firearms. This is higher than when the NFA was introduced, prior to the 1996 National Firearms Agreement when Australian civilians owned approximately 3.2 million registered firearms.

New research from the University of Sydney (28/4/21) has found that while the proportion of Australians who hold a gun licence has fallen by 48 per cent since 1997, the number of guns per licensed gun-owner has increased, from an average of 2.1 in 1997 to an average of 4 in 2021.

There are a number of factors that must be considered when determining why the number of privately-held licensed guns have increased in Australia. According to research from the University of Sydney, Australia’s population has grown by approximately 40 per cent in the last 25 years. The proportion of Australian households with a firearm has fallen by 75 percent in recent decades. Similarly, the number of hunters and sporting shooters has declined. However, the number of guns per licensed gun-owner has increased, from an average of 2.1 in 1997 to an average of 4 in 2021. Therefore, while there are proportionately fewer licensed gun owners today than in 1997, those that are licensed on average own more guns than before.

In 1996, the Howard Government introduced a number of reforms which restricted the use and possession of semi-automatic and fully-automatic firearms, including those substantially the same in appearance as fully-automatic firearms. New conditions were also introduced that strengthened firearms licensing, registration, reporting and storage requirements.

According to research by the Australian Institute of Criminology, the rate of homicide involving a firearm in Australia has trended downwards since before 1996, but the rate of decline increased after gun law reforms were made under the Howard Government. While there have been ongoing incidents of homicides involving a firearm in Australia, there have been no significant spikes or resurgence noted.

The campaign is being funded by the Commonwealth Government under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. That funding will allow Crime Stoppers to successfully develop and implement a national strategy.

The issue of gun-control is a highly charged debate. As a community-based not-for-profit organisation, our primary focus is to do all we can to create a safer Australia.

This campaign is designed to raise awareness that people can safely and confidentially report someone with an illegal firearm.

It also to increase awareness of the national permanent firearms amnesty so people can confidently surrender or register unwanted or unregistered firearms, parts, and ammunition.

Illicit Firearms

An illicit firearm includes a firearm, or firearm part(s), which:

  • is not registered to the current owner,
  • does not have a serial number or has a defaced (removed) serial number, or is possessed by a person who does not have a licence for that firearm.

Based on available data, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission conservatively estimates there are 260,000 firearms (250,000 long arm and 10,000 handguns) in the domestic illicit market. This estimate is based on a range of intelligence sources, including firearm importation figures and seizure trends over time. Please refer to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) report 2016, for further information.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission data estimates that there is a significant number of illicit firearms remain in the community.

These exist in two distinct markets: 

  • the grey market: pre-1996 firearms (long arms), not registered or handed in during the buy-back or the subsequent amnesty. Grey market firearms are not kept for criminal purposes but may be an avenue for diversion into the illicit market.
  • the black market: illegally imported into, or illegally manufactured in Australia, diverted from the licit or grey market, or stolen from individuals or firearms dealers.

The exact extent of the Australian illicit firearms market cannot be determined as no historical data is available on its size prior to the implementation of the National Firearms Agreement of 1996.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates the global illicit market contains the equivalent of approximately 10 to 20 per cent of the number of firearms in the licit market.

If that ratio is applied to Australia’s illicit firearm market, it would represent somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000 firearms.

Intelligence from law enforcement suggests that not only are serious and organised crime groups looking to access firearms for criminal purposes, but an increasing number are trafficking firearms as a means of generating income.

The illicit firearms market is driven in part by outlaw motorcycle gangs, organised crime groups, and other groups engaged in trafficking illicit commodities such as drugs.

The illicit firearm market in Australia is not strictly limited to serious and organised crime groups, gangs, or particular criminal acts. A wide range of criminals acquire and use firearms to conduct their criminal business, protect their interests, intimidate, and commit acts of violence. No single organised crime group dominates the sale and supply of firearms in the Australian illicit market.

Firearms enter the illicit market in Australia through a number of historical and contemporary diversion methods, depending on the firearm type.

3D printing technology is improving rapidly, and any improvised or homemade firearm, including those incorporating 3D printing technology, poses a risk to the community.

Encrypted websites continue to trade in illicit commodities, including firearms. Users, and  encryption and routing technologies, rely on virtual currencies to obscure their identity and their location.

The Australian Institute of Criminology has found that the illicit darknet firearms market, while relatively small compared with other illicit product markets on the darknet, is notable.

Firearms enable organised crime groups to be more lethal in their activities.

It only takes one firearm in the hands of a person with malicious intent to be of great concern to yourself, your family, or the community. Illicit firearms put us all at risk.

Crime Stoppers needs your help to reduce the number of, and access to, illicit and unregistered firearms in the community. Say something before it is too late.

Illicit firearms in the community remain a threat to public safety. A united effort involving law enforcement and the community is needed to locate them.

Crime Stoppers

Crime Stoppers was first established in 1987 as an independent not-for-profit registered charity representing the collective eight Crime Stopper organisations operating in every state and territory in Australia. 

We work closely with police and the community to help solve, reduce, and prevent crime by collecting information and passing on those details to police and other law enforcement agencies to help keep communities and families safe.

As the country’s most trusted, recognised, and pre-eminent crime information reporting service, Crime Stoppers is exceptionally well placed to deliver a national awareness and reporting campaign.

Crime Stoppers in Australia has a long-standing, demonstrated history of delivering highly successful media, industry, and community engagement initiatives.

A national firearms amnesty that ran from 1 July to 30 September 2017 resulted in more than 57,000 firearms being handed in for registration, sale, or destruction – including a rocket launcher, machine guns and a grenade.

If people don’t share what they know about illicit firearms in the community, then there is the real potential that those firearms could fall into the hands of criminals, or those who should not be in possession of a firearm.

Say something before it is too late. Protect yourself and your family.  

If you have any information about an illicit firearm, you can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at Report Safely and Confidentially.

You don’t have to say who you are, get involved or compromise your own safety.

No – you may have heard something or have a suspicion only. Don’t second guess yourself, contact Crime Stoppers and let us evaluate it – because if the information is of concern to you then it’s important to us.

When you contact Crime Stoppers you don’t have to provide concrete evidence of a crime involving a firearm. You may have overheard something, or something just doesn’t feel quite right—so reach out and share what you know. It is safe and confidential.

You decide how much information you share with Crime Stoppers. You do not need to give any personal details if you wish for your identity to remain unknown.

When it comes to information about a firearm, we understand that there may not be much information you can provide, but if possible, please let us know:

  • if you have seen the firearm and what it looks like (handgun, rifle or other),
  • the address where it is stored/hidden – and exactly where in that location it is normally kept,
  • details (names/description) of the person or people who have the firearm.

Yes. Crime Stoppers is a national network of programs, so you can be confident that the information you provide about something interstate will be taken, assessed, and passed to the relevant interstate police service.

No—the fact that you have contacted Crime Stoppers remains confidential.

When you contact Crime Stoppers you are under no obligation to say who you are, make a formal statement to police or get involved in any subsequent court proceedings.

Contacting Crime Stoppers is easy. You can call our toll-free hotline on 1800 333 000 or go to and click on your relevant state or territory to share what you know online.