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Gun ban after applications more than double amid COVID-19 pandemic

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Firearm access has been temporarily banned in Victoria after a surge in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic saw permit applications more than double.

Firearm access has been temporarily banned in Victoria after a surge in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic saw permit applications more than double.

Police Minister Lisa Neville today declared the sale of firearms and ammunition for sporting or recreational purposes would be paused, following deliberations by the National Cabinet.

Ms Neville said there had been a substantial increase in firearms permits to acquire applications and additional ammunition during the health crisis.

"We're responding to an increase in demand for firearms and ammunition across the country by doing what we can to protect licensed firearm owners and dealers as well as the broader community," she said.

"We sincerely hope that Victoria Police does not have to issue one of these on the spot fines, and people do the right thing.

"But for those that don't, they will be dealt with."

The move is hoped to prevent stockpiling and the risk that guns could fall into the hands of criminals during the outbreak.

The ban would exclude those who needed to access firearms and ammunition for essential services, such as farmers and rural landholders, professional vermin control and armed guards.

It follows police undertaking 1225 spot checks in the past 24 hours at homes, businesses and non-essential services across the state as part of Operation Sentinel.

Individuals face on-the-spot fines of $1,652 and $9,913 for businesses for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

"People are dying and we need to stop the spread of this," Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said.

"People need to be home."

The ban comes amid fears domestic violence figures would soar with people directed to "stay home" as the state shuts down.

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Dep. Comm. Patton said no available data suggested violence rates had risen.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/victoria-bans-guns-firearms-during-coronavirus-pandemic/c79be725-280d-4173-b761-e364d4544433

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