Safekeeping Firearms and Cartridge Ammunition While Being Carried or Used

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Safekeeping Firearms and Cartridge Ammunition While Being Carried or Used


In Victoria if you are carrying or using a firearm, you must ensure that it is carried or used in a way that is secure and not dangerous. Additionally, you must take reasonable precautions to ensure that the firearm, or the cartridge ammunition is not lost or stolen.

The maximum penalty for this offence depends on the type of firearm involved as follows:

  • Category A or B longarm – a fine of up to 60 penalty units or 12 months’ imprisonment;
  • Category C or D longarm or a general category handgun – a fine of up to 120 penalty units or 2 years’ imprisonment;
  • Category E longarm or a category E handgun – a fine of up to 240 penalty units or 4 years’ imprisonment.

A Court can impose any of the following penalties for this charge:

The Offence of Failing to Keep Safe Firearms and Cartridge Ammunition

The offence of failing to keep safe a firearm is contained in section 126 of the Firearms Act, which states that a person who is carrying a firearm/cartridge ammunition must:

  • Ensure that the firearm/cartridge ammunition is carried and used in a manner that is secure and is not dangerous; and
  • Must take reasonable precautions to ensure that the firearm/cartridge ammunition is not lost or stolen.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict you of this offence, the prosecution must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You used or were carrying a firearm/cartridge ammunition; and
  2. You carried or used the firearm/cartridge ammunition in a manner that was dangerous and not secure; or
  3. In the event that the firearm/cartridge ammunition was lost or stolen, you did not take reasonable precautions to ensure that the firearm/cartridge ammunition was not lost or stolen.

Possible Defences for Incorrect Storage of Firearms

Possible defences to this charge include but are not limited to:

  1. Lack of intent;
  2. Necessity
  3. Honest and Reasonable Mistake or Belief
  4. Factual Dispute

What Court Will Hear Your Matter?

Although this matter is an indictable offence, it will likely be dealt with by the Magistrates’ Court.

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