Firearm storage | Safekeeping of guns and firearms | Victoria Police (2022)

There are specific storage requirements for each category of firearm licence in Victoria. These are set out in Schedule 4 of the Firearms Act 1996.

These requirements must be met to ensure that firearms are safely stored and not easily accessed by anyone other than those who may legally access them. It is a condition of each licence that firearm owners maintain safe storage in accordance with the Firearms Act 1996.

Firearm storage requirements are changing in August

On 30 August 2022, several changes to firearm storage laws will begin. It is recommended that firearm owners, and potential firearm owners familiarise themselves with the changes and prepare themselves to make any changes necessary prior to the change to the law.

Current and future firearm owners must (where applicable) make sure their firearm storage complies with these changes.

Many current firearm owners will already have storage which meets the updated standards. This particularly applies if they have a purpose built, commercially manufactured gun safe.

All firearm owners should check their current storage against the new requirements. They should prepare to replace or upgrade their arrangements before 30 August 2022.

Our divisional firearms officersExternal Link can provide advice about individual circumstances.

The new requirements

From 30 August 2022, the following must be met to ensure compliance with the law:

  • Firearms must be stored in a purpose-built steel storage receptacle.
  • The steel must be of a thickness of at least 1.6mm (which complies with Australian/New Zealand Standard 1594:2002).
  • If the receptacle weighs less than 150 kilograms when it is empty, it must be bolted to the structure of the premises.
  • When firearms are stored in the receptacle, it must be locked with a lock of sturdy construction.

Firearm storage | Safekeeping of guns and firearms | Victoria Police (1)

What firearm owners must do

  • Check your current storage arrangements against the new requirements.
  • You may not need to get a new storage receptacle, but you may need to adjust how it is fixed in place.
  • Seek advice from your Divisional Firearms Officer if you are unsure if your arrangements will meet the new requirements.

Who do these changes apply to?

  • Current firearm owners
  • People who are newly licensed or applying for a licence
  • People who plan to buy or get a firearm

Some other things to know

You don’t need to buy a commercially manufactured gun safe

While commercially manufactured gun safes will likely meet the new requirements you do not have to have one to meet them. If you choose to build a receptacle yourself, you must ensure that it meets the minimum specifications set out in the Act.

A clothing locker (or school locker or ‘brown built’ locker) cannot be used as a firearm receptacle. Regardless of any modifications, a clothing locker does not meet the minimum standards of a firearm storage receptacle.

You can store your other valuables in your receptacle if you choose

The primary purpose of the receptacle must be to store firearms, however if you choose to store other valuables, like your passport or jewellery that is okay.

If you do choose to store other items in your firearm receptacle, you must ensure that only appropriately licensed people have access to it. Ammunition must be stored separately from the firearms.

Arrangements which exceed the minimum standards

The legislation sets minimum standards for firearm storage receptacles. If you wish to install a receptacle which exceeds the minimum standards, then you are welcome to do so.

Where there is doubt, you should contact your local Divisional Firearms Officer for advice.

General storage considerations

Care should be taken to avoid leaving firearms stored at unoccupied premises for extended durations, particularly in remote locations. Identifiers of the possible existence of firearms at a premise (such as firearm stickers on cars) should also be avoided.

Cartridge ammunition must be stored in a locked container separate from the storage unit in which the firearm is stored. It is acceptable to have a purpose-built storage unit that has two separate lockable compartments (one for firearms and one for ammunition). This is classified as separate storage areas, and therefore suitable. The key consideration is that firearms cannot be readily accessed by persons not authorised to do so.

Safekeeping of firearms and ammunition while being carried or used

There are specific legislative requirements for the safekeeping of firearms and cartridge ammunition while they are being carried or used.

Regardless of the type of firearm, it is a requirement that a person carrying or using a firearm or cartridge ammunition must:

  • Ensure that the firearm/cartridge ammunition is carried or used in a manner that is secure and is not dangerous.
  • Take reasonable precautions to ensure that the firearm/cartridge ammunition is not lost or stolen.

Safekeeping of firearms when being transported in vehicles

While the guidelines are aimed at minimising risk, licence holders should consider all factors that may contribute to firearms being transported in a manner that is not secure or in a way that presents a danger.

In most circumstances firearms should be transported in the following manner:

  • Firearms should be transported in a padded cover or hard case, unloaded and preferably rendered inoperable.
  • While being transported, firearms and ammunition should be kept out of sight and stored in separate receptacles that are either secured to the inside of your vehicle or in a lockable component of your vehicle.
  • Cartridge ammunition must be stored separately from firearms in a part of the vehicle not readily accessible by an unauthorised person – a lockable glove box would suffice provided the key to the glove box is kept securely by the holder of the firearm licence and cannot be accessed by persons unauthorised to possess ammunition or firearms.

You should exercise a common sense approach to storage when transporting their firearms and be mindful of all of their obligations. You should also be mindful of considerations over and above legislation to ensure firearms are not lost or stolen.

This advice is a guide only and does not override storage requirements imposed by other regulatory frameworks. For example, there are storage requirements imposed under the Wildlife (Game) Regulations2012 when hunting in a deer habitat.

The Victorian Firearm Safety Foundationhas further information and practical tips on its website regarding the safe and secure transportation of firearms, including by road, rail and/or air.

Storing firearms with another licence holder

  • If the licence holder has access to the firearms, they must be the holder of the appropriate licence for the category of firearm/s being stored.
  • The licence holder, where the firearms are to be stored, must continue to ensure that the storage facilities are in compliance with legislation – for example, the addition of a firearm stored at a particular location may necessitate the fitting of an alarm system.
  • If it is an ordinary storage address, the Licensing and Regulation Division must be advised of that storage address.
  • The firearm/s are not able to be accessed by anyone who is not the holder of the applicable firearms licence.
  • If you are the holder of a general category handgun licence and you propose to be absent from Victoria for a substantial period of time or you are temporarily incapacitated, you may arrange for another licence holder to apply for a permit to store your handguns.

Interstate storage

  • Firearm storage requirements vary between Australian jurisdictions. If you want to store firearms in a state other than Victoria you will need to check the storage requirements of that state and obtain permission to do so.
  • If it is permissible for you to change the ordinary storage address of firearms registered in Victoria to another state, you must advise Victoria Police of the new storage address within 14 days of their relocation.
  • You may only store firearms in Victoria if you have a Victorian Firearm Licence. If you reside interstate you can nominate a Victorian address as your ordinary storage address only if you hold a firearm licence for work purposes. This does not apply to interstate or international licence holders who are visiting or working in Victoria on a temporary basis.

Farm and rural safety

  • Victoria Police has dedicated Farm Crime Liaison Officers (FCLO) across the state who have expert skills in investigating livestock theft and farm related crime.
  • To help prevent farm, rural crime and to keep your firearms safe and secure, you can view some tips and information on Victoria Police's Farm and Rural Safety website.External Link

Offences

Victoria Police place great emphasis on firearm safekeeping.

If you fail to comply with storage requirements, you could be facing:

  • 60 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment increasing up to 240 penalty units or four years' imprisonment depending on the category of firearm being carried and used.

Notification to Victoria Police of storage addresses

You are required to let Victoria Police know of the physical storage location of each firearm in your possession.

The notification of a storage address is a part of the licence or permit to acquire application process. Licence holders can elect to store their firearms in a single location or multiple locations, provided that each storage location complies with the storage requirements set out in legislation.

Note: Within 14 days, you must notify the Licensing and Regulation Division should the ordinary storage address of a firearm change via a change of detailsExternal Link form.

Storage inspections

It is a condition of all firearm licences that the holder of the licence must allow a member of police to inspect their storage arrangements at any reasonable time.

When you obtain a firearm for the first time, or, when your storage address changes, Divisional Firearm OfficersExternal Link or local police will conduct an inspection of your storage facilities to ensure that you are complying with your storage obligations. Random inspections may be carried out from time to time, with or without notice.

When conducting an inspection, police will also inspect the quantity and type of firearms stored as this will determine the nature of the storage required. They will also verify the details of firearms stored at a location.

Collecting and storing ammunition

Licensed firearm dealers

  • Licensed firearm dealersExternal Link can sell, possess and store any quantity of cartridge ammunition but larger amounts of cartridge ammunition have greater storage requirements. Dealers can also import any amount of cartridge ammunition as long as they have an import permit from the Licensing and Regulation Division.

  • Licensed firearm dealers can sell any amount of gunpowder and propellants provided they have a Worksafe Licence to Sell Explosives.

  • Although dealers can also store any amount of gunpowder or propellants, they must have a WorkSafe Licence to store explosives for more than 20kg of propellants or more than 5kg of propellant gun powder. Dealers must also have a WorkSafe Licence to Import Explosives to import any amount of gunpowder and propellants.

Licensed ammunition collectors

  • Licensed ammunition collectors can store and collect any amount of cartridge ammunition and can also import any amount of cartridge ammunition as long as they have an import permit from the Licensing and Regulation Division.

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