There have been a couple of questions regarding my post on Private Gun Ownership in Australia which I started answering in the comments but then decided to make another post out of it.
With the questions regarding “self defense” I will do a bit more research and do another post on this topic.
The questions have been slightly edited for readability.
”Does the law mean that you specifically allow the Police to wander in the "check" your gun storage situation?”
Part of the licencing requirement is that the safe must be inspected by the Police. However, they can't just wander in and check willy nilly. They should make an appointment first, and if they don't and just turn up on your doorstep you can tell them that it is not convenient and to come back at another time.
“How long did it take you to go through this process?”
I had a lot of problems with my licence for my first gun. The Constable at the local police station decided that for some reason she didn’t like me (or she was just slack or whatever) and the whole process took over three months.
It would have taken longer, but I ended up getting the Police Complaints branch and the Firearms branch involved and they managed to cut through her lies and delays and get my application processed.
The same Constable was the Firearms Office at the local police station when I decided to apply for my second handgun licence and after one more run-in with her I decided to wait until she was on holiday and deal with the replacement Firearms Officer – who is a lovely guy and was more than willing to help me get the application processed as quickly as possible.
I want to get rifle on an “Open Licence” and have all the necessary paperwork, but I want to contact the Police Station, before going down there, to see who is on as I really couldn’t cope dealing with the first Firearms Officer again.
Unfortunately, from the stories I am told, many of the Firearms Officers are difficult to deal with. I’ve had friends who have had the Firearms Officers say “I don’t think civilians should own guns” when they have gone to put their applications in. Unfortunately, you have to deal with the local Police Station and not go to other stations where there are helpful and competent Firearms Officers – and yes, these do exist.
I have had one Firearms Officer, when checking the serial number of the gun against the temporary permit, ask me to read it to him as “he doesn’t like guns and isn’t confident handling them”. This would be okay, but he had a Glock on his hip!
”Is there a restriction on how many guns and weapons you can own? "
In the first year that you have your licence you can only own two handguns. There is no regulated restriction on the number of firearms you can own apart from that, but I do know of situations where Firearms Officers at the local Police Station have tried to tell people that there is.
When it comes to licensing long arms on “open licences” there is provision in the Regulations for the applicant to have to prove need. Therefore applications can be turned down if the Police reckon that you don’t need another gun but can use one of the others you have licensed for that purpose.
”Do you have problems with gun control/violence like we do here in the states?”
Yes, as regulations and laws are only effective when people obey them. So there are still gun deaths here.
Apparently the number of gun deaths (both homicides and suicides) have declined and there have been no more “Port Arthur” type massacres since the tightening of regulations in 1997.