FIREARMS were seized from properties of motorcycle gangs in St Arnaud and Kyneton yesterday.
The raids were among about 30 carried out by police across the state in which more than 100 weapons were seized.
They came after the Police Chief Commissioner decided that outlaw motorcycle gang members were probably not “fit and proper persons” to hold firearms.
Officers also seized weapons in Wangaratta, Myrtleford, Hadfield, North Ballarat, Wodonga, Traralgon, Melton South, Yarragon, Cockatoo, St Andrews, Lalor, Mill Park, Benalla, Baddaginnie, Tallarook, Belmont, Werribee, Hoppers Crossing, Doveton, St Kilda, Bunyip, Coburg, Tullamarine, Springhurst, Pennyroyal, Officer and Kilsyth.
About 109 licenced firearms and a small number of unregistered or illegal firearms, including a pen pistol, were seized by Echo Taskforce officers, according to Victoria Police. The Bendigo Advertiser understands no arrests have been made.
A police spokesman said all firearms breaches would be dealt with by summons and police would continue to conduct inspections to ensure compliance with the Firearms Act regulations.
The weapons raid comes after two bikie clubhouses were visited by police in the past fortnight and slapped with notices for liquor licensing breaches.
Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana said police did not think it was right that a club like the Hells Angels could get “ready access to 38 registered firearms”.
“This is simply intolerable and we don’t think the community would think this is proper,” he said.
The police grip will tighten further within months when the Victorian government introduces legislation allowing the Chief Commissioner to declare outlaw motorcycle gangs illegal organisations.
Once a group is declared a criminal organisation under the new laws, the courts can ban it and set a wide range of restrictions on members – including meeting each other or wearing club “patches”.
Similar laws in other states have been struck down by the courts, but the Victorian government has told anyone who will listen that it will not be making the same mistakes as its interstate counterparts.