Safekeeping of firearms and ammunition while being carried or used
Victoria Police have guidance on the Safekeeping of your firearms and ammunition whilst being carried or used and while being transported in Vehicles.
You can find that guidance on their page by selecting the folloeing link;
Section 126 of the Firearms Act 1996 states:
A person who is carrying or using a category C or D longarm or a General Category Handgun must:
- Ensure that the firearm is carried and used in a manner that is secure and is not dangerous; and
- Must take reasonable precautions to ensure that the firearm is not lost or stolen.
Guidance on the Victoria Police Website (which is what they expect and will deem ‘reasonable’) states:
Safekeeping of firearms when being transported in vehicles
The information below has been developed to provide firearm licence holders a guide on how firearms and ammunition should be transported in most circumstances.
While the guidelines are aimed at minimising risk, licence holders should consider all factors that may contribute to the firearms being transported in a manner that is not secure or in a way that presents a danger.
Police will treat each individual case on its merits and there may be circumstances where the guidelines are followed but criminal charges are still warranted if the overall security of the firearms are compromised due to aggravated circumstances.
For example if a firearm is securely stored in the trunk but the owner of the vehicle is driving the vehicle while intoxicated or speeding they might be considered to have compromised the security of the firearm.
Additionally circumstances such as this may indicate that the firearm owner may not really understand the responsibilities required for proper firearm ownership.
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 you vehicle or in a lockable component of your vehicle; and
- Cartridge ammunition should be stored separately from the 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.
- Licence holders should exercise a common sense approach to storage when transporting their firearms and be mindful of all of their obligations.
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to follow the law. As a club, we have provided some recommendations below to help you meet best practice and meet the Victoria Police guidelines.
Remember: You are at the mercy of the interpretation of the individual Police Officer that decides that you are taking ‘reasonable precautions’ to ensure that the firearm is not lost or stolen. Their idea of what is ‘reasonable precautions’ can widely differ from yours.
Recommendation – Handgun:
- Have your Handgun(s) stored in a locked box that is secured to your Vehicle by a cable.
- Transport your locked box in the boot so it is out of sight. If you have a station wagon or 4WD, then make sure the box is out of sight.
Recommendation – Magazines/Speedloaders:
- Make sure all magazines/Speedloaders are unloaded! A loaded magazine constitutes a loaded firearm.
Recommendation – Ammunition:
- Store your ammunition in a separate locked box that is secured to the vehicle by a cable.
- Transport your ammunition box in the boot so it is out of sight. If you have a station wagon or 4WD, then make sure the box is out of sight.
Recommendation – Drinking Alcohol:
- If the Police Officer deems you to be intoxicated, they can deem you to have compromised the security of the firearm. This only says intoxicated. It does not give a blood alcohol level, so it is left up to the Police Officer to decide. That means that even one alcoholic drink can put you at risk is you are in charge of and transporting a firearm.
Recommendation – Speeding:
- Speeding is outlined that it can be treated the same as intoxication and the Police Officer can deem that you have compromised the security of the firearm.
Moral of the Story: Don’t drink or Speed while transporting Firearm(s)
Recommendation – Leaving your Car unattended with firearm(s) and/or ammunition in it:
Do not leave your vehicle unattended while firearms and/or ammunition are in it.
This means don’t go shopping etc and leave your firearms and/or ammunition in the car.
If you leave it unattended then you can be deemed to have compromised the security of the firearm.