By Jaci Hicken
The state government is introducing new firearms storage laws to reduce incidents of crime across Victoria.
The new laws will come into place from August 30, effecting category A, B, C, D longarms and general handguns.
It means firearm owners can no longer use light metal cupboards or hardwood boxes to store category A and B firearms.
The new requirements require all firearm safes need to be made of at least 1.6 millimetres thick solid steel and must have a sturdy lock when firearms are stored in it.
If the safe weighs less than 150 kilograms when empty, it must be bolted to the structure of the premises.
But firearm owners who already have storage that meets the updated standards will not have to make any changes.
This particularly applies if they have a purpose-built commercial manufactured gun safe which has been purchased from a registered dealer.
Victoria Police reported there were 26 firearm burglaries and 80 firearm thefts in the South Gippsland, Bass Coast, Baw Baw and Latrobe City local government areas in the past two years.
Acting Divisional Firearms Officer, Leading Senior Constable Robert Nicholls said he was concerned about those people who may not be complying with updated gun safe laws.
“People who have not updated their firearm security in a while, are seen as easy targets,” Snr Con Nicholls said.
“On the western side of the division, it is very easy for criminals to access rural properties. (Criminals) can drive into rural properties, where the farmer may not be home, or out in the paddock at the time,” he said.
Morwell Alpine Country Tackle World gun salesman Andrew Sultana said compliant gun safes were selling “like hot cakes.”
“The safes we have in stock are mostly thicker than the requirements and range in price from $400 to $1500,” Mr Sultana said.