New firearms storage requirements now in force
For the safety of all Tasmanians, new and enhanced firearms storage requirements come into effect today.
Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling said that the enhanced firearms storage requirements were designed to help prevent the theft of firearms and therefore also prevent stolen firearms from being used in other crimes.
“We have been consulting with firearms owners extensively for many years. The review of the Act that led to these changes commenced in 2009. In regard to storage specifically, the Minister announced the changes when the amendments went through the Parliament in 2015, draft requirements were released for public comment in 2016, and we wrote to 37,000 firearms owners in May 2017 to inform them of the final changes and their responsibilities under the new legislation,” Mr Cowling said.
Firearms thefts have been increasing. In 2006-07 there were 125 firearms reported stolen, which gradually increased to 260 firearms being reported stolen in the 2015-16 financial year.
Over that decade, an average of 200 firearms are stolen per year, ending up in the hands of criminals.
“Firearms are an attractive target for thieves. Where other consumer goods can’t be sold for much by criminals, stolen firearms are in demand on the black market. Criminals know this and are more inclined to steal firearms than other items,” Mr Cowling said.
“We know that existing requirements are not sufficient. The majority of firearms stolen are stolen from storage receptacles. These may be broken into on-site, or in some cases the whole receptacle has been removed. As a consequence, these changes require stronger receptacles that are more securely attached to the premises.”
Under the changes:
- At a minimum additional anchor points will have to be installed on a currently compliant safe.
- Timber firearms safes are no longer compliant with the storage legislation.
- A smaller subset of firearm owners who possess handguns, or 10 or more firearms, will also be required to have electronic security. This can be either an alarm or video surveillance. It is up to the firearm owner to select what option best suits their circumstance.
A new website has been launched specifically for firearms requirements to ensure firearms owners have the latest up to date information about the requirements under the new legislation at https://fas.police.tas.gov.au/