Firearms safety

To possess, use or carry a firearm in Victoria, you must hold and carry a current Firearms Licence issued by Victoria Police or any equivalent current interstate Firearms Licence. In addition, all firearms must be registered. This includes all shotguns and rifles (including air rifles).

This section will provide you with useful information on the lawful and safe possession, use, storage and transport of firearms.

You must not carry a loaded firearm or use a firearm on any thoroughfare or place open to or used by the public for passage with vehicles.

Also, you must not carry a loaded firearm or use a firearm in a town or public place (see section 3 of the Summary Offences Act 1996) eg. picnic area, camp site or on or over any area of public land, where hunting is not permitted.

Never shoot across public roads or tracks or towards populated areas, including camping and picnic areas and walking tracks.

Firearm safety code

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When hunting with a firearm, it is your responsibility to ensure that your actions do not put the safety of yourself or others at risk.

You should know the ten basic firearm safety rules in the Victorian Firearms Safety Code before you handle firearms and insist anyone who goes shooting with you follows these rules.

All firearm users must practice firearm safety to reduce the risk of firearm incidents. There is no such thing as a firearm "accident". In every case, at least one of the firearm safety rules has been broken.

Responsible hunters will know and apply the basic firearm safety rules detailed in the Firearms Safety Code at all times and will insist that other hunters do the same.

The safe storage and carriage of firearms and ammunition by firearm licence holders is a fundamental requirement of firearms regulation in the State of Victoria and necessary to ensure public safety and peace is preserved.

The laws relating to storage and transport of firearms are administered by Victoria Police and are detailed in the Firearms Act 1996. More specifically, laws relating to firearm storage are found in Schedule 4 of the act and laws relating to safe carriage of firearms while being transported or used are found in section 126.

For more information visit: Victoria Police

You will need to complete a Victorian Firearm Safety Course and test if:

  • You are applying for any firearms licence other than a Collectors, Heirlooms or Licensed Firearm Dealer licence
  • You have never held a Victorian firearm licence (even if you had a licence in another Australian state or territory)
  • Your Victorian firearm licence was cancelled
  • Your Victorian firearm licence expired more than 12 months ago

For more information visit: Victoria Police

Be aware of personal safety

Many hunters today wear camouflaged clothes, which makes them difficult to see. While concentrating on the hunt, there is a possibility that you could be mistaken for game by another hunter.

Always positively identify your target before you pull the trigger. Under no circumstances should you ever shoot towards movement or noise.

This is particularly important when hunting game deer in Victoria. To ensure your safety and the safety of other hunters in the field, it is recommended that all deer hunters wear some form of bright coloured clothing or hat when hunting.

Overseas studies have shown that deer cannot see colours such as blaze orange and the wearing of these colours will not affect your hunting success. Many hunters have taken deer in Victoria while wearing blaze orange clothing.

The wearing of some form of bright coloured clothing is also recommended when you are carrying a carcass out of the bush. This will ensure that other hunters do not mistake you for a deer.

Be aware of your firing zone

When hunting out in the field, you can help ensure the safety of yourself and others by being aware of your surroundings.

Identifying your target beyond all doubt

Always make sure you positively identify your target before taking a shot.

Storage of firearms and ammunition
When hunting out in the field, it is your legal responsibility to take all reasonable precautions to ensure your firearms and ammunition are stored away safely and securely.
Transporting firearms in vehicles
When transporting firearms in a vehicle, there are a number of legal obligations all firearm owners must follow
Handling of firearms in the field (traversing fences, creeks etc)
When hunting out in the field always handle your firearm safely.

Page last updated: 21 Jun 2023