Message from the Chief Commissioner

Our Services

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:

Storage requirements for a firearm licence (Category A and B longarms)


Storage requirements for a firearm licence (Category C and D longarms, general category handguns)


Storage requirements for collectors licences


Storage requirements for heirlooms licences


Storage requirements for ammunition collectors licences

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.
Regardless of the type of firearm, Section 126 of the Firearms Act requires 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; and
  • Take reasonable precautions to ensure that the firearm/cartridge ammunition is not lost or stolen.

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.

Offences

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.
 

Storage Inspections

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.
Divisional Firearm Officers or local police will conduct an inspection of your storage facilities and that you are storing your firearm(s) correctly when you obtain a firearm for the first time and whenever you change your storage address. Random inspections may be carried out from time to time, with or without notice.

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 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/s stored at a particular location may necessitate the fitting of an alarm system);
  • Licensing & Regulation Division must be advised of that storage address if it is an ordinary storage address; and
  • 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 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:

  • You must contact the equivalent regulator in that jurisdiction and satisfy any requirement to store the firearm in that jurisdiction. For NSW, Victoria Police understands that there is a permit that must be obtained in that State prior to firearms being permitted to be stored; and
  • Victoria Police must be advised of any address where a firearm registered in Victoria will be ordinarily stored.

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.

 
Top of Page
Victoria Police Centre 637 Flinders Street Melbourne 3005 | Ph 03 9247 6666 | Fax 03 9247 5727
Copyright © 2005 State of Victoria. All rights reserved.