The NSW Police Force has chosen Rural Crime Week as a chance to remind licensed firearm owners about the need for safe storage of their weapons.
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The introduction of new firearms safe storage requirements on September 1 involves a new requirement that, generally speaking, firearms must be stored at the licensee’s primary residential premises.
Western Region Commander and NSW Police Corporate Spokesperson for Rural Crime, Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie, said the regulations will assist police in addressing firearm theft from unattended rural residences.
“Firearm theft is an issue the NSW Police Force is working hard to address, but we need the attentive support of licensed firearm owners,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.
“Each year there are about 150 incidents of firearm theft from rural industry premises.
“If you own guns, you have a legal responsibility to ensure they are safely and securely stored and if you are able to go beyond minimum standards, we strongly encourage you to.
“We see too many cases where criminals are taking advantage of opportunities such as unattended properties, allowing them to easily steal guns from the properties of licensed firearm owners,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.
In addition, since the start of the Risk Based Safe Storage Inspection Program in 2015, more than 3000 requests have been sent to police to conduct safe storage inspections in accordance with the program and more than 10,000 safe storage inspections have been undertaken.
“This program provides extensive public safety benefits by focusing on the highest level of risk,” Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe said.
All firearms owners are urged to:
· Store your firearm, bolt and ammunition securely and separately;
· Ensure tools which could be used to break into safes are not stored nearby;
· Ensure any keys or combinations for gun storage safes are kept secure and separate from the safes; and,
· Be cautious about who has knowledge of your firearms licence status and where your firearms are stored.
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