Safe storage of firearms

The ACT Firearms Act holds the owners of firearms personally responsible for the security and safe keeping of their firearms and for ensuring that firearms do not come into the possession of unauthorised persons.

Non-compliance with the safe keeping laws can lead to the seizure of firearms by police.

Firearms owners should obtain a copy of the firearms storage guidelines from the ACT Firearms Registry, as the requirements vary for categories and numbers of firearms stored.

Firearms Act 1996 Part 12; Firearms Regulations 2008 Part 11.

When a category A or category B firearm or paintball marker is stored, the firing mechanism must, if at all possible, be removed and stored separately from the firearm or marker.

Category A and B firearms (up to and including 10 firearms in total)

  • The firearms must be stored in a metal lockable container and the firing mechanisms must be stored in a separate lockable metal drawer or container that may be external or internal to the metal lockable container; or
  • The firearms must be stored in a security container that is constructed of a recognised hardwood and lined with steel sheeting, the door of which is fitted with metal hinges and either an appropriate deadlock; or 2 sliding bolts fitted with padlocks of an appropriate strength.
  • The container must be bolted to the floor/wall or both with a minimum of two suitable anchor bolts in order to prevent its easy removal (unless the mass of the container when empty is 150 kilograms or more when empty).

Category A and B firearms (in excess of 10 firearms in total), Category C, D and H

  • The firearms must be stored in a metal or concrete or brick safe.
  • For a metal safe: Must be constructed of structural grade mild steel that conforms with AS/NZS 3678:1996 grade 250 and is not less than 3mm thick and be constructed with continuous welding of all edges.
  • For a safe other than a metal safe be constructed of reinforced concrete, double brick or reinforced besser blocks that are not less than 140mm thick.
  • All safes must be fitted with a door:
  • Constructed of structural grade mild steel (that conforms with Australian Standard 3678:1996 grade 250 and is not less than 3mm thick) and that is swung on either concealed pivots or externally mounted sealed-end hinges welded to the door and body of the container, and that is flush fitting with a clearance around it of no more than 1mm; and
  • If the door is hinged - have a fixed locking bar or dogging bolts welded to the inside face of the door near the hinge edge that engages or engage in a rebate in the container body when the door is closed; and
  • Be fitted with a 5-lever key deadlock or a locking mechanism that provides at least equivalent security; and
  • Be constructed with a full length steel rebate welded to the side of the container body, the locking edge of which will receive the deadlock of the locking mechanism.
  • A locking mechanism must be securely fixed to the rear face of the door of the container by retaining screws and a metal strap overlapping, or enclosing, the locking case with each end welded to the rear door face.

Changes to the ACT Firearms Regulations 2008 - As of 13 February 2018

On 13 February 2018,  ACT legislation came into effect which amended the storage requirements for more than 10 category A or B firearms.

This requires any licence holder with more than 10 registered firearms to store the firearms appropriately in a metal, brick or concrete safe.

A metal safe must be mounted on a wall or on the floor as follows:

  • If mounted on brick - the safe must be attached by at least 2 Loxin anchor-type high-tensile bolts with a diameter of 52mm x 16mm and a 10mm thread;
  • If mounted on concrete or stone - the safe must be attached by at least 2 Dyna-type bolts and expanding anchors with a diameter of 70mm x 12mm and a 10mm thread that are internally fitted through holes in the rear or bottom of the container that conform with the manufacturer’s specifications;
  • If mounted on wall studs or floor joists:

(i) it must be attached flush against the timber or plaster surfaces by 2 steel hexagonal-head coach screws that are not less than 8mm in diameter x 50mm in length and are internally fitted through holes in the rear or bottom of the container that conform with the manufacturer’s specifications; and

(ii) the container, timber floor or plaster wall surfaces must be recessed so there is no airspace between the surfaces and the container, with the rear bottom edge of the container being recessed into skirting board.

Collectors’ firearms

  • In addition to the above, Collectors’ firearms that are Category A or B firearms are to be made temporarily incapable of being fired.
  • Category C and D firearms are to be made permanently inoperable in accordance with Firearms Registry guidelines.
  • Additional requirements apply for the display of firearms. Collectors should seek guidance from the Firearms Registry.

Category D firearms

In addition to the above, the holder of a category D licence must store the firearm to which the licence relates in a place in which an intruder alarm is installed. The intruder alarm must be connected to the mains power with a battery backup in case of power failure and include:

  • A space movement detector that uses a microwave, passive infra-red, ultrasonic or similar system of detection; and
  • An external noisemaker that sounds when the alarm is activated.


Ammunition must be stored in a locked container of a type that is approved by the registrar and that is kept separately from the firearms.

Sale and purchase of firearms

The sale and purchase of all firearms must be arranged through a firearms dealer. Firearms dealers include club armourers.

If the sale or purchase is arranged through a club armourer, both of the parties involved in the transaction must be approved firearms club members.


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