Key messages

  • Under the Firearms Act 1996, any person wishing to carry or use a firearm must hold a valid licence.
  • Health service employees do not have the right to search individuals without consent or to confiscate firearms.
  • Health services may impose a ‘consent to be searched for weapons’ as a condition of entry.

Under the Firearms Act 1996, any person wishing to carry or use a firearm must hold a valid licence. ‘Firearm’ is defined as any device, assembled or in parts, designed or adapted to discharge a bullet or other missile, including any device that has the appearance of an operable firearm.

Under the Firearms Act, only police have the right to search individuals without consent or to confiscate firearms in the community. Health service employees do not have this right – although a health service may impose a ‘consent to be searched for weapons’ as a condition of entry.

As some police and prison officers are legally authorised to carry and use firearms in the course of their duties, health services should negotiate agreements through their local health service–police partnership regarding the appropriate carriage and use of weapons within different areas of the health service.

Victoria Police should be contacted immediately when the unauthorised presence or likely presence of a firearm is detected in a public health service. Agreements and procedures should be negotiated to ensure that firearms are safely stored and collected by the police.