Interactive map shows gun ownership high in Bendigo and surrounds

SAFE: President of Field and Game Australia Bendigo branch Peter McKenzie. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

SAFE: President of Field and Game Australia Bendigo branch Peter McKenzie. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

OPINION: Strict laws rule out most gun problems

THE Greater Bendigo region has one of the highest numbers of gun ownership in Victoria.

Victoria Police statistics show Bendigo and surrounding suburbs has a substantial number of registered guns.

TheBallarat Courier analysed data from the Victoria Police corporate statistics unit to find the numbers, breaking them down by post code on an interactive map.

To find out how many registered guns are in your area visit www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au to view the map.

The statistics, issued in September last year, show shotguns and airguns were the most common gun type owned in Bendigo and surrounding areas. There were 4525 shotguns and airguns in the 3550 postcode itself. 

Inspector Brad Dixon confirmed there was a high rate of gun ownership in the Greater Bendigo region.

"The majority of them are responsible owners but we do get frustrated when we see guns getting stolen from insecure storage," he said.

Victoria Police have warned firearms are increasingly being targeted in burglaries, particularly those stored on rural properties.

"We've probably seen a trend towards them being targeted in burglaries," Inspector Dixon said.

"I suppose we'd call them soft targets because they know farmers use fire arms regularly to dispose of stock and things like that so they're probably a little bit more accessible than like a sporting shooter who probably only get them out on a weekend.

"Whereas farmers use them every day so they're quite often in utes, in sheds and things like that.

"We're currently going through storage audits at the moment so that's getting out to all the gun owners to make sure their guns are stored properly."

Statewide there are 695,108 registered guns, ranging from air rifles and paintball guns to machine guns and cannons.

Apart from a few exceptions, all firearms in Victoria have to be registered with Victoria Police's Licensing & Regulation Division.

Only people who have a valid firearm license are allowed to register a gun. Strict criteria must be met to get a firearm license, including having a "genuine reason" for holding one.

Applicants must also complete an identify check, hand over a set of fingerprints to police and undergo a firearm safety course.

Reasons for needing a firearm license include target shooting, hunting and primary production.

- with the Ballarat Courier

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