I have been approached by a number of people in recent times regarding the storage of firearms at premises that are only used or visited on a part-time basis. This is due to the Police taking action against them for storing their firearms in an uninhabited dwelling.
Readers need to be aware of the requirements of Clause 28B of the Firearms Regulation 2017, which states that the holder of a licence or permit must not store a firearm in a dwelling unless it is an inhabited dwelling.
In this regard, the definition of an “inhabited dwelling” in relation to the storage of a firearm means a dwelling that is the principal place of residence of a person, whether or not the person is the holder of the licence or permit, or a dwelling at which a person resides while the firearm is stored there, whether or not the person is the holder of the licence or permit.
Sounds a bit confusing, I know, but in essence it means you can store your firearms at another person’s residence provided it is their principal place of residence, or if it isn’t their principal place of residence, it can be stored there when the person is residing there. This, of course relates to circumstances where a licence holder is storing their firearm at “another person’s” residence.
However, this is not what the queries are about. It is more where, for example, a person resides in Sydney, but has a rural property that they like to “get away” to and perhaps do some recreational hunting and vermin control every now and then. The rural property is uninhabited when the owner is not there and back in Sydney, but they leave their firearm/s there for when they return. This is where the problem arises as the rural property is uninhabited during their absence.
Police are cracking down on this situation and the Regulation carries a maximum penalty of $5,500.00 if the firearm is a prohibited firearm or pistol and $2,200.00 in any other case. It generally comes to the notice of the Police when an uninhabited rural property is broken into and firearms are stolen, albeit they are properly stored in a gun safe and the owner only becomes aware of it on their next visit to the property.
So, please acquaint yourself with Clause 28B, as a breach of it could result in court proceedings and the revocation of your licence.