Safe Storage Inspections

NSW Police continue to conduct statewide safe storage and firearm inspections.

All firearms holders in NSW can expect to get a call from their local police asking to arrange a suitable time for a safe storage inspection. The inspection will cover firearm and ammunition safe storage compliance and that all firearms are accounted for.

Remember, you are not being individually targeted by a request for inspection. Always be polite and courteous when making the initial arrangement for inspection and during the inspection itself.

Safe Storage Compliance

Different categories of licence require different levels of safe storage. The most common being Categories A and B at Level 1. Category C, D and H require Level 2 and Category G Collector requires Level 9. Further details on safe storage and other compliance requirements can be found on the NSW Police Firearms Registry website: https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/online_services/firearms

Preparation for Inspection

It is very important that you use your time wisely and be prepared by ensuring that all is in order before the inspection occurs. The following checklist may assist you:

The Safe: Make a point of checking that all is in order with your safe storage –

  1. Construction and lock up of safe.
    Is it compliant for the category of firearm secured within?
  2. Anchor points/ bolts securing safe to building.
    Ensure that it is secured to the building as required.
    If your safe is over 150kg and it is not secured to the building can you prove its weight?
  3. Are your firearms stored inside a residential building?
    If not, is it in a shed/building of a solid nature?
    If not, can that building be easily and clearly seen from the residence? If not, that location will not comply.
    Are there any tools which could be used to break into the safe (eg. an angle grinder) accessible or near where the safe is located? If so, then remove from the area or secure them in a locked cabinet.
  4. Access to firearms.
    Make sure that only licensed persons – family or otherwise have access to the firearms.
    An unlicensed person who can easily gain access to a key to your firearm safe may result in your licence being revoked and your firearms confiscated.

Firearms: Make a point of checking that all is order with your firearms –

  1. Stocktake of firearms.
    Do you have all firearms registered to you on the premises?
    Do you have firearms stored at a different address?
    If a firearm is registered as stored at your residential address, it needs to be there at inspection time.
    If you have firearms stored at a different address, have you previously advised Firearms Registry of this
  2. Rego papers
    Police conducting the inspection will have a list of serial and registration numbers with them.
    Rego papers can make things a lot easier, however, in resolving unclear serial numbers or make/model confusion.
  3. Safe contents
    Is there anything in your safe that should not be there?
    Of course, it is expected that only lawfully registered firearms are stored in your safe.
    If, however, you share safe storage with another person, advise the police of this at the time of appointment.
    If storing firearms for a mate, has the Firearms Registry been advised of the storage address?

Ammunition: Make a point of checking that all is in order with your ammunition storage –

  1. How do you store your ammunition?
    Locked compartment inside firearms safe?
    Locked container or cabinet separate from firearms?
    Always ensure that ammunition is stored securely. A loose round of ammunition on the workbench or elsewhere could spell disaster.

Genuine Reason

The question of genuine reason will be raised. Remember, if your membership of SSAA or any other club/association is your genuine reason for a firearms licence, that membership must remain current and valid. If it expires, so too does your genuine reason. SSAA membership covers Target, Hunting and Collecting.

Remember to remain polite and courteous when being questioned on your activities relating to firearm types and genuine reason. Be firm in your answers, always citing your continuing compliance with all requirements.

As keen shooters, we have a variety of firearms for a variety of reasons and we use each firearm as circumstance requires (eg. different competitions and certain types of hunting situations). It is important that you relay these reasons, if you are asked to clarify why you have so many firearms/why you need a certain calibre.

Event Number

A COPS Event Number should be issued after inspection, once the police in attendance have filed their report of the inspection on the COPS data base. It is important that you receive this number as it is evidence that you have passed inspection. It is a requirement that this number is supplied along with any PTA for a handgun.

If you have not received the Event Number within a couple of days, chase it up.

When it comes your turn for inspection you will now have a better idea of what to expect. Do not leave your preparation to the last minute!

We advise all members to remain proactive in ensuring compliance with all aspects of NSW firearms law.

This article was featured in the latest issue of the NSW Shooter magazine. Click here to read the June 2021 edition.

Mitch is the Policy and Range Manager at SSAA NSW.