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Australian police warn against "firearm selfies"

MELBOURNE, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Australian gun owners who post " selfies" on social media displaying their guns and ammunition could make themselves targets for thieves, police warned on Monday.

Police detectives in the state of Victoria have said there has been an influx of social media "firearm selfies" -- people taking pictures of themselves with guns -- which inadvertently advertises gun ownership and can lead to targeted thefts.

Senior Sergeant Andrew Armstrong warned that criminals looking to bypass Australia's tight gun regulations could easily identify a gun owner's location.

"Some criminals trawl social media networks looking for easy targets and items of interest including ammunition and other weaponry," Armstrong told a media conference on Monday.

"It's easy enough to gather personal information through public profiles or unsecure accounts."

"Licence holders need to be responsible. Any public display of firearm ownership including stickers on vehicles or house windows can encourage unwanted attention from thieves."

Armstrong also said licence holders were becoming too complacent when it came to safe storage of guns.

"With the responsibility of owning a firearm, comes the responsibility of storing one," he said.

"If your firearms can be easily accessed you need to improve your security."

In Victoria, firearms must be stored in something made of hard wood or steel that is not easily penetrable and secured with a sturdy lock. Firearm cases that weigh less than 150 kilograms must be securely bolted to the premises.

And when more than 15 firearms are stored, an intruder alarm system must be fitted.

Victoria Police reminded gun owners that inadequate storage of firearms was an offense and could result in fines from 6,700 to 30, 000 U.S. dollars or one to four years' imprisonment.

"We know that the majority of licence holders comply with storage conditions however, there are still a significant number who don't," Armstrong said.

Civilian gun ownership per capita in Australia is roughly 15 firearms per 100 people.

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