I live in Victoria, and hunt on a couple of properties about an hour or so from where I live. As I work shifts, and often hunt during the week, my wife is often using our car, so, if I want to go hunting I need to go on my bike. I own category A & B firearms.
Can I legally carry a firearm on my bike?
Good question. S121 of the Firearms Act 1996 provides that when the firearm is not being ‘carried or used’ you must carry it in the manner provided for in Item 1 of Schedule 4 or in any manner that the Chief Commissioner is satisfied is secure as to the manner provided for the item. Breaching this is a criminal offence attracting 60-penalty units or 12 months imprisonment.
‘Carried or used’ is not defined, and so would attract its normal meaning. S121 does not address temporary storage while a firearm is being transported. Transportation tends to be a bit of a grey area under most legislation in Australia.
The Victorian Police issued ‘Firearms Safety Booklet’ is, while quite a comprehensive document, unfortunately silent on the issue, covering only cars and public transport, and I was unable to find any other guidance on the Victorian Police Firearms Registry website that covers motorcycles.
Turning to general principles, the firearm must be carried in a case so as to avoid alarming the public, and also in a manner that will provide it with security. Security would preclude the use of a soft case on a motorcycle.
It may be possible to mount a lockable gun case onto the side of a bike within which a firearm could be carried. This would need to be securely fixed to the bike so that it could not be easily removed or be torn free of the frame, or break open, in the event of an accident.
I suggest that if you wish to go down the path of carrying a firearm on a bike, you first obtain written approval of the means of carriage from the Licensing Sergeant in your area and carry the approval with you at all times.
You may be able to conceal the case a bit by using a take-down firearm. This would enable fabrication of a case that did not look like a gun case, with ammunition and bolt perhaps locked under the seat of your bike.
While carrying a firearm on a bike, even if carriage is approved, I would not leave the bike with the firearm on it.
With a co-operative Licensing Sergeant who is prepared to address a problem laterally, and a bit of thought, I expect a solution can be reached that will address the needs of all parties.