Some new changes come into ‘law’ today which affect the carriage of firearms in vehicles, they are small, but important changes – and clarify some of the grey areas that have surrounded guns in cars for years. These are in the form of additions to regulation 19, which relate to the storage of firearms.
I encourage you to go and familiarise yourself with the regs yourself – but the key points are:
- Firearms need to be concealed from view from outside the vechile
- Firearms need to be rendered inoperatable
- Firearms need to be unloaded
- Ammunition needs to be stored seperately and concealed
Interestingly/oddly – the clause (1) that refers to this is then said to NOT apply if you are in or near the vehicle (2).
So, not so much a change – but a reinforcing of best practice anyhow. Inside a case is concealed (i.e. keep guns in cases, not just sitting on the seat) – and I would suggest the best practice is a case that doesn’t scream out ‘GUN’ – i.e. not camo, not covered in tactical stickers.
I would hope no one is driving around with a loaded firearm in the truck anyhow. That has always been illegal on a public road anyhow – and breaches one of the seven rules of firearms safety.
Load a firearm only when ready to fire.
However, the requirement for the firearm to be rendered inoperable, and for ammunition to be stored separately is an addition – so that really (and simply) means take the bolt out, put into a lockable ammo box and you are good. I have seen the lockable 50cal ammo boxes used for this, or small pelican like cases as well. It is noted that the glove compartment would be an acceptable solution as well.
Essentially, what we are trying to get away from, is the rifle bag with the gun inside, bolt in, and a box of ammo in the side pocket. As I have pointed out for years doing the firearms licencing courses – this is really just gift-wrapping the firearm, with everything it needs to be shot, in an easy-carry bag, should someone stick the head into the car and grab something while you are away from it.
This brings us to a very interesting, and ultimately useful addition to the law.
If you follow the above requirements and don’t wander too far away and lock the vehicle, then it is stipulated you may leave the vehicle unattended during a break in the journey for up to 60 minutes.
While I wouldn’t suggest anyone just leaves a gun in the vehicle for 60 minutes, it does allow a legal provision to be able to get petrol, pay for petrol and go to the toilet without feeling like a criminal.
I always suggest people minimise the time away from the guns regardless. However, there are certain times, when, for a brief period of time you may need to take your eyes off the vehicle. This new reg allows for this, in what I see to be a reasonable manner.
So – in short
- Get a lockable ammo box. Store the ammo and the bolt in it. You can take the ammo and bolt out of the box and put it back into the bag when you get where you are going. When you get there, you could put it back into the bag in order to carry it from point A to B and then unload into the safe, hand over to the store (or in my case, a person setting up the gun for you) – and they can then store appropiatly their end.
- If you are going to walk away from the vechile for a moment, make sure the vechile is locked.
There was initial concern/widespread panic1 that we were going to need to physically attach bags/cases to the vehicle – while I don’t think this was the issue it was made out to be2 – it has dropped anyhow – as has the requirement for an alarm or immobiliser to be fitted if you were going to leave the vehicle unattended.