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Farm firearms: A guide to gun safety in Australia – Farm Weekly

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Guns play a vital role in the Australian economy in a way that may seem somewhat surprising to you: through the management and maintenance of our agricultural sector.

Even though Australia has attained global recognition as being a model for the efficacy of stringent gun control laws, the regulations surrounding the use of farms on firearms have been designed to accommodate the diverse needs of Australian farmers.
With this access to gun ownership comes a fair amount of responsibility including gun maintenance, storage, and providing strict guidelines for gun use as it pertains to farm work.

Here are just a few elements that Australian gun owners will have to cover when assessing their own personal gun safety standards.
Sourcing a gun for farm use isn’t a complicated process in Australia. Gun stores are established in all of the country’s major cities, and with online retailers, farmers can even buy a shotgun online.

In order to purchase, all you’ll need is a valid state gun license, as well as a permit to acquire a new firearm.
It’s only once your gun has been purchased, however, that the bulk of your responsibilities as a new gun owner begins.

As the farmer and property owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that guns are used only by individuals with valid licenses, and that you keep records of these licenses, as well as the frequency at which your guns are used on a daily basis.

Sign-out sheets for guns are a superb method of keeping track of how often your guns are used, as well as the condition of these guns, the amount of ammunition used on any given day, and how often the gun is cleaned.
Speaking of cleaning, alongside proper gun use, gun maintenance should also be of paramount concern to farmers, especially those with many licensed employees and younger licensees who may still be learning.

Regularly cleaning out your gun’s muzzle and chamber will minimise risks of injury from leftover debris.

A clean gun is significantly less likely to experience issues during use.

For this reason in particular, it’s highly recommended that gun maintenance be integrated into your daily routine, especially on farms with a large number of potential users.
Although shotguns may be the firearm of choice for most farmers, they aren’t the best option for training younger gun users due to their larger weight and higher muzzle velocity.

Once your gun learner acquires their junior firearm license, they should ideally start off on handgun training well before they handle their first shotgun.
Handguns can be valuable for introducing your learners to aiming with a firearm, as well as providing them with a soft introduction to recoil.

Understanding how gun recoil works prior to using shotguns, will aid in their first handling of these more heavy duty firearms, and may ensure that your gun learners stay confident and feel well-equipped throughout their learning process.
If you have a learner hunter who’s over the age of 18, it may be a good idea to get them started on field shooting as well.

As field shooting covers a larger area, however, it’s always best to ensure that field shooting sessions are scheduled on secure, private property, and that any other occupants or neighbours are aware of your learner shooting schedule.
One half of the equation of practicing safe gun handling on a farm property, is quite honestly in ensuring that any guns are stored securely and responsibly.

In doing so, you won’t just be following state and federal regulations surrounding the storage and handling of guns, but you will also be keeping your family safe from the dangers that accompany the misuse of firearms.
It’s important to note that requirements for safe gun storage in Australia are subject to change depending on which state you reside in.

As farmers are known to be easy targets for gun theft, it’s imperative that all farmers and their licensed employees or any other friends and family that are licensed to handle firearms, familiarise themselves with the gun storage regulations in your home state.
Although some states may require gun owners to invest in a gun safe made of specific materials dependent on whether they’re storing a handgun or a longarm, virtually all states dictate that ammunition should be stored separately from firearms themselves, but that they should be stored just as securely.

Be sure to organise your gun and ammunition storage in accordance with these regulations both to minimise risks of procuring fines, but more importantly, to ensure that you and everyone else on your property, continues to practice responsible gun handling and ownership.
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Gun regulations are paramount to farms and farmers across Australia, and practicing gun safety innately ensures that farmers maintain their rights to own and use firearms.

If you hold a recreational gun license, you have a responsibility to adhere to your state and federal gun regulations and demonstrate that gun laws in Australia suit the dynamic needs of both farmers and hunters alike.

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