Storage and Safekeeping Requirements for Firearms
Release date: Tue 5 June 2012
Last updated: Tue 3 June 2014
Storage requirements for firearms and ammunition
The safe storage and carriage of firearms and ammunition by firearm licence holders is a fundamental requirement of firearms regulation in the State of Victoria and necessary to ensure public safety and peace is preserved.
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 (the Act). These storage requirements must be met in order for an individual to possess a firearm:
Safekeeping of firearms and ammunition while being carried or used
There are specific legislative requirements for the safekeeping of firearms and cartridge ammunition whilst they are being carried or used.
The onus is on the firearms licence holder to demonstrate that the above requirements have been satisfied at all times whilst carrying or using firearms and ammunition.
The Victorian Firearm Safety Foundation has further information and practical tips on their website regarding the safe and secure transportation of firearms, including by road, rail and/or air.
Other storage considerations
The above requirements are the minimum safekeeping standards that must be adhered to by licence holders. Licence holders are encouraged to take a 'common sense' approach and to be mindful of considerations over and above legislation to ensure firearms are not lost or stolen.
Ask yourself; is there anything more I can reasonably do to ensure my firearms cannot be lost or stolen?
In particular, 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.
The Firearms Act 1996 and Victoria Police place great emphasis on firearm safekeeping.
It is an offence to fail to store and transport your firearms and ammunition in the manner set out above. Penalties for failure to comply with these storage requirements range from 60 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment increasing up to 240 penalty units or 4 years imprisonment depending on the category of firearm being carried and used.
Notification to Victoria Police of storage addresses
It is a legislative requirement that Victoria Police is advised of the physical storage location of each firearm in possession of the licence holder.
The notification of a storage location forms part of the licence or permit to acquire application process. Licence holders can elect to store their firearm/s in a single location or multiple locations, provided that each storage location complies with the storage requirements as set out in legislation (as above).
It is also a legislative requirement that the holder of a licence must notify Victoria Police in writing of a change in the address where any firearm held under the licence is ordinary stored within 14 days of the change occurring. The change of details form can be found here.
It is a condition of all firearm licences that the holder of the licence must permit a member of Police to inspect their storage arrangements at any reasonable time.
When inspecting the storage facilities, Police will also inspect the quantity and type of firearms stored as this determines the nature of the storage required. They will also verify the details of firearms stored.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I store my firearms and ammunition in the same safe?
Legislation requires that any cartridge ammunition for a firearm must be stored in a locked container separate from the receptacle in which the firearm must be stored.
Victoria Police has determined that for the purposes of implementing this part of legislation; a single, purpose-built storage receptacle comprising of two separate lockable compartments, one for ammunition and one for firearms is classified as separate storage areas (and therefore suitable) provided that each compartment is locked with a separate lock and key or combination lock.
The key consideration is that firearms cannot readily be used by persons not authorised to access them.
Can I store my firearms at another licence holder's address?
Yes, however the following requirements must be satisfied:
If you are the holder of a general category handgun licence and you propose to be absent from the State 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.
Can I store my firearms at an address where there is no licence holder?
Yes, provided that the storage facilities comply with requirements and ensuring that access to firearms is unable to be obtained by persons without a licence.
What is defined as an ordinary storage address?
For the purpose of the Firearms Act 1996, Victoria Police defines the term 'ordinarily be stored' as the place where the firearm will most regularly be kept for the majority of days during any given year.
Do I need to notify Victoria Police of places where my firearms are temporary stored (for example, at a motel whilst on a camping/shooting trip)?
No, only the location of where firearms are ordinary stored in any given year.
Can I store my firearms interstate?
Whilst this is not recommended, Victoria Police understands that there may be circumstances that necessitate firearms being stored in other jurisdictions, particularly for licence holders residing close to the border. Storing firearms interstate may be preferable than regularly transporting firearms in some instances. The following requirements must be met prior to any firearm being stored interstate:
Can alternative methods of storage be approved by the Chief Commissioner, including in a commercial storage/shipping container?
Yes, provided that the Victoria Police is of the opinion that the alternative method is, at a minimum, as secure as the manner provided for that item. In all instances, Victoria Police must be notified of the address of the storage. Please contact the Licensing & Regulation Division for more information.