A Victorian Police officer is calling for law changes forcing all firearms owners to make other arrangements for their firearms if they leave the house for “more than a couple of days”.
Superintendent Craig Gillard was reported in The Age at the weekend pushing for radical changes to current storage requirements and calling current legal safes ‘flimsy’.
The Victorian Firearms Act 1996 states that category A and B firearm safes must be made from “hard wood or steel that is not easily penetrable” and be bolted to the wall or floor if they weigh less than 150kg when empty.
But the senior police officer who is obviously Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me in disguise said, “On a good day I can rip that open with my teeth”.
Perhaps the most outrageous of his claims was that organised criminals were able to steal “thousands of firearms from registered owners in regional Victoria”.
The reality is, the government’s own statistics reveal just 358 firearms were reported stolen across Victoria in the financial year to June 2013. They were: 232 category A firearms, 87 category B firearms, 1 category C and 38 category D firearms.
To stem the so-called flow of stolen firearms making their way to criminals, Superintendent Craig Gillard says the law should prevent firearms from being kept at a property during a prolonged absence.
“There’s plenty of people who own properties they might visit every couple of weeks or couple of months and all too often we get reports of firearms stolen,” he told The Age.
“It’s a pretty easy target for a crook. If you’re away from your property for more than a couple of days, we need to advocate for legislation that says you can’t leave firearms if a house is uninhabited.”
SSAA Victoria raised the article at this week’s Firearms Users Group and contacted police to express its disappointment. We called for any future claims regarding firearms laws to be based on evidence.
We also contacted the journalist who wrote the story to inform him of the statistical data on stolen firearms and will send him this article.