Position Statements

Appearance Based Firearm Controls


The Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA), recognises that:

  • The underlying policy objective of firearms regulation in Australia is to ensure public safety and to facilitate the safe and responsible possession, carriage, use, registration, storage and transfer of firearms.
  • The national approach set out in the National Firearms Agreement (the NFA) and as summarised in the Commonwealth Firearms Information Booklet form the basis of how the Commonwealth, States and Territories approach firearms management, and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future.

Key messages:

  • The word “appearance” occurs only once in the NFA (28a), and then only in the context of heavily restricted Category D semi-automatic centrefire military style rifles.
  • The expansion of and inconsistent application of appearance-based provisions by States and Territories exceeds the intent of the NFA and perpetuates the very inconsistencies which the NFA sought to address.
  • Any categorisation of firearms based upon appearance is open to interpretation by individuals who may not necessarily be equipped with appropriate subject matter expertise and is unduly dependent upon insufficiently defined administrative powers.

SIFA position:

  • All categorisation decisions be predicated upon an objective technical assessment of fundamental engineering principles (e.g., actuation and ammunition type) and nothing else.
  • The arbitrary re-categorisation of firearms from the category assigned in the ACIC National Firearms Information Database (NFID) by states and territories should be strongly discouraged.
  • The Firearms and Weapons Policy Working Group be made accountable for ensuring that firearms are categorised consistently across all jurisdictions.
  • Non firearms (e.g., inert replicas, paintball markers and gel blasters) should not be treated as firearms on the basis that such an approach is disproportionate to the public safety risk these devices represent, and because unnecessary regulation diverts scarce resources away from higher risk areas requiring the most attention.


  1. Commonwealth Firearms Information Booklet
  2. National Firearm Agreement 2017



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