Message from the Chief Commissioner

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Populous Place Permits

Release date: Thu 29 December 2011

Last updated: Fri 18 August 2017

Information on this page has been developed by the Licensing and Regulation Division to assist the public understand what is considered a populous place, what a populous place permit is and how to obtain a populous place permit.

In Victoria, it is an offence to use or carry a loaded firearm in certain places unless you have written approval from the Chief Commissioner or an exemption legislated under section 130 of the Firearms Act 1996.

Individuals who are not exempt under section 130 of the Firearms Act 1996, can apply to the Licensing and Regulation Division to obtain a populous place permit to allow them to use or carry a firearm in populous places in specific circumstances.

A person who submits a populous place permit must have their application approved before they can carry or use a loaded firearm in a populous place. This requirement should be factored into any application for a populous place permit.

  1. Where is it an offence to use of carry a loaded firearm?
  2. How do I obtain permission to use or carry a loaded firearm in a populous place?
  3. For what reasons will the Licensing and Regulation Division consider an application for a populous place permit?
  4. How do I make an application for a populous place permit?

Information for vermin controllers

1. Where is it an offence to use or carry a loaded firearm?

Section 130 of the Firearms Act 1996 says that "a person must not carry a loaded firearm or use a firearm in a town or populous place or on any thoroughfare or place open to or used by the public for passage with vehicles".

Victoria Police considers a populous place to be a place where people gather, populated or generally frequent. Examples include (but are not limited to); shows or events, designated parks or open spaces like walking tracks.

A town is defined as:

  • a densely populated area within a parish; or
  • any area declared a city; or
  • any suburb within a city; or
  • any land zoned by a Municipal or Shire Council as anything other than land zoned Rural, Environmental Rural, Rural Living, Public Conservation and Resource or Farm Land;
  • Other zone listings which fall within the definition of town are, Residential, Low Density Residential, Mixed Use, Township, Industrial, Business, Public Land, Public Use, Public Park And Recreation, Special Purpose, Comprehensive Development, Urban, Urban Floodway, Capital City or Docklands.

Under the Road Safety Act 1986 a thoroughfare is defined as any street, road, lane, track, bridge or tunnel that is accessible from both ends or any place that is a highway by virtue of a declaration under sub-section (2)(a) of the Road Safety Act 1986.

A place open to or used by the public for passage with vehicles is considered as being any open place, track, carriageway, footpath, bike path, traffic island, nature strip or any area provided to separate vehicle traffic on any street, road, lane, bridge, thoroughfare, track or other place.

For ease of reference, the Licensing and Regulation Division refers to the above places using the umbrella term, populous places.

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2. How do I obtain permission to use or carry a loaded firearm in a populous place?

If you are not exempt under section 130 of the Firearms Act 1996, you must obtain written approval from the Chief Commissioner to use or carry a loaded firearm in a populous place.

Approval from the Chief Commissioner is granted in the form of a populous place permit. Applications for these permits are assessed and granted by the Licensing and Regulation Division on behalf of the Chief Commissioner.

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3. For what reasons will the Licensing and Regulation Division consider an application for a populous place permit?

All applications for populous place permits are assessed on a case-by-case basis; however, the majority of populous place permits are issued for vermin control, performing arts or historical re-enactment activities.

Permits issued for activities other than vermin control are generally issued for a specific activity or event.

More information about populous place permits for performing arts and historical re-enactment activities can be found in the Performing Arts and Historical Re-enactment Guide available from the firearm reference information page of the Victoria Police website.

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4. How do I make an application for a populous place permit?

Applications for populous place permits must be made by the submission of a populous place permit application. Please ensure that you read the application carefully and provide all supporting documentation as requested.

Populous place permit applications for vermin control activities are accessible from the firearm forms page of the Victoria Police website.

Permit application forms for performing arts and historical re-enactment activities are currently being reviewed. To obtain a populous place permit application for performing arts or historical re-enactment activities please contact the Licensing and Regulation Division at licensingregulation@police.vic.gov.au.  

To obtain a populous place permit application for any other activity please contact the Licensing and Regulation Division at licensingregulation@police.vic.gov.au

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Information for vermin controllers

In July 2017, the Licensing and Regulation Division introduced changes to populous place permits for vermin controllers. Populous place permits for the activity of vermin control will be issued for a period of 12 months will no longer be date and location specific.

Holders of populous place permits issued for vermin control will be permitted to carry and use loaded firearms in any populous places at any time for the purpose of vermin destruction provided the use of the firearm complies with the conditions of the permit.

Prior to the use of a firearm in a populous place the holder of the permit will be responsible for obtaining verbal approval from the Divisional Firearm Officer or police station closest to where the activity will take place.

Further to this, the holder of the permit must abide by any verbal instructions given to them by the approving Divisional Firearm Officer or police member.

How do I obtain a populous place permit for vermin control activities?

Populous place permit applications for vermin control activities must be made by the submission of an Application for a Populous Place Permit (Vermin Control). The application form is accessible from the firearm forms page of the Victoria Police website.

In addition to the submission of the application form, you will also be required to provide:

  • A copy of your current business registration in respect to vermin control;
  • A copy of your Standard Operating Procedures, including specific reference to site risk assessments, firearms safety principles and general safety procedures;
  • A copy of public liability insurance specific to your vermin control business and the use of firearms; and
  • Evidence of current Level 1 First Aid qualification.
 
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