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Procedure: Firearm safety management


The purpose of this procedure is to describe the responsibilities and actions required for the possession and use of firearms on University premises during University-related activities to ensure compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth) and Firearms Legislation in the state or territory where the activity is being conducted. This procedure is linked to the University’s Work health and safety policy and is one of the Safe Work Procedures within the WHS Management System.


Categories of firearms licenses will be issued by the relevant State or Territory Police service. Firearms are categorised as:

  • Category A Air rifles, air guns and paint-ball firearms; .22 rim fire rifles (not being self-loading rifles); single or double barrel shotguns (not being self-loading or pump action shotguns);
  • Category B Muzzle loading firearms (not being handguns); revolving chamber rifles; centre fire rifles (not being self-loading centre fire rifles); break action combination shotguns and rifles; double barrel centre fire rifles that are not designed to hold additional rounds in a magazine; all other firearms (not being prescribed firearms, handguns, self-loading firearms or pump action shotguns) that are not class A firearms;
  • Category C, D self-loading & pump action firearms and;
  • Class H (Handguns) are prohibited from the University.

Firearm/s is a gun, or other weapon, that is, or at any time was capable or propelling a projectile by means of explosive force as defined by the Firearms Act (1996) and Firearms Regulations (2008) for the Australian Capital Territory. This includes:

  • a blank fire firearm; and
  • an airgun; and
  • a paintball marker; and
  • something declared to be a firearm under section 31; and
  • a modified item; or
  • a firearm frame or firearm receiver that does not form part of a firearm.

Authorised officer is any worker who has the consent of the land holder to provide permission for an authorised user to discharge a firearm for a genuine reason.

Authorised user is any worker, who holds a relevant State or Territory firearms license and is authorised by the University to discharge a firearm for a genuine reason.

Genuine reason is defined in the Firearms Act (1996) (ACT). Such reasons include animal welfare, vermin control, and vertebrate pest animal control on rural land.

Land holder (Vice Chancellor) is the owner of the land who provides written consent for a firearm to be discharged. A lessee or land manager (Director, Facilities and Services) with the authority of the land holder may also provide written consent.

Local area refers to a College, Research School or Service Division of the University.

A Worker is defined as anyone who carries out work for the University. A worker includes staff, volunteers, contractor, students and visitors at the University.



  1. This procedure is applicable to all persons who undertake University related activities, and/or are employed or engaged by the University or affiliated with the University in any capacity as a worker as defined under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth). This does not apply to members of the Police or Australian Federal Police; other government security, defence, or protective agencies in line with their official duties.

Licensing and permits

  1. No worker shall use or be in possession of a firearm within University owned property unless they have received a signed letter of consent from an authorised officer. Written permission of the landowner is a legislative requirement.
  2. The applicant shall have a current firearms licence for the appropriate category of firearm being used.
  3. In accordance with the Firearms Act 1996 (ACT) all firearms brought onto University owned property will be registered.
  4. Firearms licences issued by a State or Territory Police service outside of Australian Capital Territory will be recognised when authorising a user.

Assessment of the firearm activity/request

  1. The relevant local area (authorised officer) in consultation with the WEG must assess if the firearm related activity is an ongoing business requirement for the local area or whether it could be outsourced to an external authorised user.
  2. Unless exceptional circumstances exist, the local area are not permitted to purchase, use or store a firearm for ongoing business activities. Preference will be given to the engagement of an external suitably qualified and experienced authorised user.


Authorised officers

  1. Authorised officers must:
  • maintain a copy of all documents relating to firearms activities including all documents sent to relevant state and territory authorities for at least five years;
  • assess any firearms activity for suitability (this may require a review of the hazard assessment and safe operating procedures); and
  • obtain a copy of the firearms license of the authorised user prior to providing permission to discharge a firearm.
  1. An authorised officer shall consider that firearms may only be used when genuine reasons exist, such as:
  • the humane destruction of an animal to avoid it suffering;
  • the suppression or eradication of large feral vertebrate pest animals; and
  • the destruction of vermin.
  1. The authorised officer shall provide ANU Security with details of any shooting activity and/or the presence of externally engaged shooters, including dates and times of approved firearms activities on campus or other University premises.
  2. The authorised officer shall accompany any external experienced shooters (when hired or engaged) for the duration of their firearms activities, unless this is not required as per the hazard assessment.

Authorised users

  1. Authorised users must:
  • store and take sole responsibility for the firearm in their possession;
  • never use a firearm against a person under any circumstances. In a personal threat situation contact the Police and ANU Security;
  • refuse permission for any other person licensed or otherwise, to take possession of or use the firearm; and
  • always carry their firearms license while in possession of their firearm.

Authorisation of firearms users

  1. The authorised officer, must authorise:
  • any worker requiring the use of a firearm or any external experienced shooters (e.g. professional pest exterminators) to be engaged by the local area;
  • the use of any privately-owned firearm for University activities in consultation with the authorised officer; and
  • any student firearms activities where the student is enrolled in an external training course that forms part of a degree or structured core programme. All other students are forbidden to use firearms.
  1. Firearms are not allowed in student accommodation owned and/or managed by the University or in privately owned vehicles whilst on University property.

Revoking authorisation

  1. The authorised officer will be informed if a user has demonstrated unsafe work or behaviour and there has been a recommendation that authorisation to use a firearm on University property be revoked.

Applying to use any firearms at the University

  1. Prior to the use of any firearms at the University the requestor must:
  • contact the authorised officer and detail the genuine reason for intended firearm use;
  • provide a copy of their firearms licence to the authorised officer; and
  • ensure they hold the appropriate category of licence for the firearm to be used.

Hazard assessment

  1. Local areas must ensure that a comprehensive hazard assessment and safe operating procedure is documented for firearms usage in consultation with the Work Environment Group prior to their use.
  2. Control measures should include as a minimum:
  • the use of hearing protection;
  • transport arrangements for the authorised user and firearm whilst on campus;
  • security and storage of firearms and ammunition;
  • emergency contingency arrangements;
  • animal ethics approval and protocols (if applicable); and
  • maintenance details (e.g. manufacturer cleaning requirements).

Incident reporting

  1. All firearm related incidents, injury or near miss are to be reported to the authorised users supervisor immediately and via the Workplace safety incident and hazard reporting tool as soon as possible as per the WHS Incident management procedure.
  2. The authorised user must call emergency services for a life-threatening incident. Inform emergency services that the incident has involved a firearm and provide the GPS location if available.


  1. Authorised users will have completed appropriate training prior to receiving their firearms license.
  2. Authorised users must be provided with the appropriate level of information, instruction and training by the local area supervisor and be able to demonstrate the competencies to conduct the task in accordance with the requirements set out in the safe operating procedure or hazard assessment.


Legal and other requirement

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth)

Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth)

Firearms Act 1996 (ACT)

Firearms Regulations 2008 (ACT)


Printable version (PDF)
Title Firearm safety management
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_018014
Version 4
Purpose To define the responsibilities and actions required for the possession and use of firearms on University premises during university related activity
Audience Staff
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Health, Safety & Environment - Occupational Health & Safety
Effective Date 21 May 2018
Next Review Date 31 Dec 2023
Responsible Officer: Chief People Officer
Approved By: Chief Operating Officer
Contact Area Safety and Wellbeing
Authority: National Self-Insurer WHS Audit Tool
Work Health & Safety Act 2011
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011
Firearms Act 1996
Firearms Regulation 2008
Delegations 0

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.