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Populous places

Release date: Thu 29 December 2011

Last updated: Thu 23 April 2015

Populous places

Under section 130(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (the Act), It is an offence in Victoria to use or carry a loaded firearm in a town, populous place or on any thoroughfare or place open to or used by the public for passage with vehicles unless you have the written approval of Victoria Police to do so (i.e. a permit) or you are exempted or licensed to do so under legislation (for example, certain wildlife officers, members of Victoria Police, security guards etc).

What is defined as a populous place?

As a guide, Victoria Police has defined these terms as the following:

A 'Populous Place' is defined as a place where numbers of people may gather i.e. a show or event; or is populated or frequented generally by people such as a designated park or open space like a walking track but not limited to the ones referenced.

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.

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 to be taken as being any open place, track, every carriageway, footpath, bike path, traffic island, nature strip and any area provided to separate vehicular traffic on any such street, road, lane, bridge, thoroughfare, track or other place.

If there is any ambiguity as to whether an area is a populous place or whether it falls outside of these definitions an assessment and determination will be undertaken on a case by case basis.

Under what circumstances will a permit be granted?

Licensing & Regulation Division can issue a 'Populous Place Permit' in certain circumstances. Carriage and/or use of a loaded firearm, including blank firing firearms, in the above places is restricted to a small number of activities (i.e. vermin control, performing arts & re-enactments) provided that the activity is in accordance with the reason(s) recorded on your licence(s).

Generally, a Populous Place Permit is limited to a specific activity and/or event for a limited time period but may be granted for a 12 month period depending on the circumstances. In exceptional circumstances, licence holders may be granted a permit which is valid until the expiry of their licence. Your Populous Place Permit application must be approved before you can carry or use any loaded firearm in a populous place.

Category A and B longarms are generally the only firearms that can be used in populous places. An inspection of the area or populous place by the local Divisional Firearms Officer may be required prior to issue of a Populous Place Permit to ensure public safety can be maintained and to identify if there are any specific conditions which may be required depending on the location and the purpose of the application.

What documentation is to be provided when applying for a Populous Place Permit?

  • A plan of the site you will be conducting your activity on;
  • Notification of the type of buildings within the vicinity;
  • Safety procedures for the requested location;
  • Letter of employment/contract to be signed by CEO/Dean/President (or their delegate) of the property;
  • A copy of Public Liability Insurance for the site and activity

Populous Place Permit application is to be submitted by the CEO/Dean/President (or their delegate) of the property.

Once an application is approved the applicant will be notified in writing. If further information is required in support of an application, an applicant may be contacted by either Licensing & Regulation Division staff or the Divisional Firearms Officer.

Application for a Populous Place Permit (Vermin Control) (PDF)

Please note the following:

1. If you are applying for a Populous Place Permit for Vermin Control then the shooter is required to have their licence endorsed for Vermin Control.

2. If the site has not been previously inspected, the application is required 28 working days prior to the requested dates.

3. If the site has been previously inspected within the last two years, the application is required 15 working dates prior to the requested days. 

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