Firearm Licence Holder
The provisions of Regulation 11A(1) of the Firearms Regulations 1974 apply in respect of security storage and state:
“A person entitled to possess firearms or ammunition of any kind is to ensure that the firearms or ammunition are stored in accordance with this regulation.
Firearms and ammunition are to be stored in a locked cabinet or container that at least meets the specifications described in Schedule 4 or in such other way as is approved”.
That part of the regulation that refers to “in such other way as is approved” relates to specific situations where circumstances dictate that another form of security, in the opinion of the Commissioner’s delegated officer at the Licensing Enforcement Division, satisfies the criteria by providing secure storage.
Reference is also made to specific matters related to keys left in the cabinet, ammunition storage and method of fixing the cabinet or container to two immovable surfaces.
It is a requirement that an applicant for the issue of a licence or permit provide supporting advice (refer to Statutory Declaration at the end of this document).
Propellant and Black Powder Storage
BOTH of the following legislations apply when storing propellants/ black powder.
- The provisions of Regulation 11A (9) & (10) and Schedule 4 of the Firearms Regulations 1974 (and a licence is required);
- Dangerous Goods Safety (Explosives) Regulations 2007: Part 9 – Storage of Explosives, Schedule 4 (regardless of whether a licence is required).
Firearm Collector’s Licence
The requirements for storage are generic and apply equally for firearms held on a Collector’s Licence. As collectors cannot possess ammunition, the storage of ammunition separately is not relevant. See Firearm Licence Holder above for more information.
Ammunition Collector’s Licence
The requirements for storage are generic and apply equally for ammunition held on an Ammunition Collector’s Licence. See Firearm Licence Holder above for more information.
Firearm Dealer’s, Repairer’s & Manufacturer’s Licence
Section 32 of the Firearms Act 1973 states:
“The holder of a Dealer’s Licence, a Repairer’s Licence, or a Manufacturer’s Licence shall keep all firearms and ammunition in a strongroom or otherwise in safe keeping, securely fastened during any period when the premises are not open for trade”.
The method described as being “securely fastened” is not defined, however it is accepted that a wire cable locked at either end would meet the criteria.
Some dealers employ other methods and each is treated on its merits.
The same would apply to large quantities of ammunition where it is impracticable to continually move it from display counters and the like.
Construction materials used in the dealership should also be considered in addition to security systems, security mesh and bars.
Firearms Regulations 1974 – Schedule 4
Specifications for storage cabinets or containers
- The cabinet or container is to be constructed of mild steel that is 2 mm thick.
- A joint between 2 faces that is butt welded is to have a continuous weld along the full length of the joint.
- A joint where the edge of one face is folded over the edge of another face is to be stitch welded, with welds of at least 20 mm in length at intervals of not more than 100 mm between welds.
- Spot welding is not to be used on the joints between faces.
- The cabinet or container is to be so designed that no firearm or ammunition within it can be removed from it while it is locked.
- In this clause – ‘face’ means a side, the top, or the bottom, of the cabinet or container.
- Doors are to be recessed into the surrounding frame with margins of not more than 4 mm.
- Each edge of the door and door frame is to be internally supported and have a return of at least 10 mm.
- The cabinet or container is to have an internal stop of at least 10 mm against which each edge of the door, other than the hinged edge, closes.
- The supports and stops required by subclauses (2) and (3) are to be welded at the corners.
3. Hinging mechanisms
- Hinge protection is to be provided in such a way that, if the hinges are removed, the door of the cabinet or container remains in place and locked.
- If the hinged edge of the door is not longer than 1 metre, 2 hinges are required on it, and if it is longer than 1 metre, an additional hinge is required for each additional 500 mm or part thereof.
- If 2 hinges are required, the distance between them is to be not less than one-third of the length of the hinged edge.
- If more than 2 hinges are required the distance between adjacent hinges is to be the same and that is also to be the distance from each of the outermost hinges to the nearest end of the hinged edge.
- If a spindle is used instead of hinges, it is to extend the full length of the hinged edge of the door and is to be attached to the door by welds the number and placement of which comply with the requirements of subclauses (2), (3), and (4) for the number and placement of hinges.
- If, instead of using hinges, the door swings on a spindle or on pivots not extending the full length of the hinged edge of the door, the cabinet or container is to incorporate a return protecting the hinged edge, along its full length, against the use of a jemmy.
4. Locks and locking points
- If the swinging edge of the door is not longer than 500 mm, one lock is required with a locking point half way along that edge.
- If the swinging edge is longer than 500 mm but not longer than 1.5 metres —
a) 2 locks are required each with a separate locking point along the swinging edge; and
b) the distance between the 2 locking points is to be not less than one-third of the length of the swinging edge.
- If the swinging edge is longer than 1.5 metres —
a) for each additional 500 mm or part thereof there is to be an additional lock with a separate locking point along the swinging edge; and
b) the distance between adjacent locking points is to be the same and that is also to be the distance from each of the outermost locking points to the nearest end of the swinging edge.
- It is sufficient compliance with subclause (2) if, when the swinging edge is longer than 500 mm but not longer than 1.5 metres, there is one lock with at least 3 separate locking points.
- Each lock is to have a 5 pin mechanism that deadlocks the bolt in the locked position until it is properly unlocked.
- If the locking bolt is designed to be released by a handle or lever, the design is to be such that, if the handle or lever is forcibly removed while the door is locked, the bolt remains in the locked position.
- The cabinet or container is to be fitted with a protective structure to guard against the forcible removal of any lock.
- In this clause —
“locking point” means the point at which the bolt locks the door to the cabinet or container, preventing the door from opening;
“swinging edge” means the edge of the door opposite the hinged edge.
- The cabinet or container is to be securely anchored from the inside at 2 points on each of 2 separate surfaces to 2 immovable structural surfaces by means of 8 mm x 75 mm masonry fixing bolts or coach screws, as is appropriate.
- At each anchor point the cabinet or container is to be reinforced with a 40 mm x 40 mm x 2 mm metal plate, or a 40 mm x 2 mm metal washer, fitted between the surface of the cabinet or container and the head of the bolt or coach screw.
[Schedule 4 inserted in Gazette 6 Dec 1996 p. 6847-9.]
6. Statutory Declaration
Under the Firearms Regulations 1974 11A (1),
“a person entitled to possess firearms or ammunition of any kind is to ensure that the firearms or ammunition are stored in accordance with this regulation”.
In compliance with this regulation, a firearm licence applicant is required to submit a statement detailing their proposed storage facilities to the WA Police.
This statement, (Statutory Declaration Form 22) will form as part of the firearm licence application process and the declaration is to be provided on request prior to finalisation of the licence assessment. (See 11A and 11C of the Firearms Regulations 1974).
Failure to comply would result in refusal and/or revocation of firearm licences.
It should be noted that the declaration is to include supporting evidence that adequate and safe storage had been installed i.e. receipt from installer and/or photograph of the cabinet in situ with anchoring and/or fixing points.
Tips to remember when considering storage facilities:
- Be mindful of the location for firearm/ammunition cabinets! Do not place them at obvious locations where it is easily identified. A garage IS NOT a recommended location!
- Be mindful of anchoring and fixing bolts when installing firearm storages or containers.
- Consider installing a security alarm to cover the cabinet/storage/container location.
The Statutory Declaration Form 22 and an example of a completed Statutory Declaration Form 22 Example can be found here.
More information on specifications for storage cabinets or containers can be found above as well as on Schedule 4 of the Firearms Regulations 1974.
Source: Western Australia Police