Police detectives from Warrnambool and Portland have seized 21 firearms across the south-west as part of an operation targeting gun-owner compliance.
Firearms have been a target for criminals during the past decade, which can then be used as currency to trade for drugs and/or cash.
Those firearms can then be used in the commission of other serious crimes.
A police spokeswoman said Operation Athena targeted firearms compliance and was led by the Warrnambool police Divisional Tasking Team, with support from the Warrnambool Crime Investigation Unit, Warrnambool Family Violence Investigation Unit, the Sexual Offence and Child Abuse Investigation Team and the Portland CIU.
Between September 6 and 10 police officers executed one search warrant, six firearm prohibition order compliance searches and 84 licensed firearm storage inspections to locate and seize any unsecured or illegal firearms.
A search warrant was executed at an address in Camperdown on September 6, where officers seized an imitation firearm, ammunition, a shotgun cartridge, laser pointer, baton and six grams of cannabis.
A 32-year-old man was arrested and charged with a range of offences including being a prohibited person possessing an imitation firearm, possessing ammunition, possessing a prohibited weapon and two counts of possessing cannabis.
He appeared before Warrnambool Magistrates Court and was bailed to reappear before the same court on April 8 next year.
Of the six compliance searches, police found one breach at an address in Dennington.
A 35-year-old man is expected to be charged on summons with possessing a firearm-related item when a FPO applies, possessing ammunition without a licence and being an unlicensed person failing to store cartridge ammunition in a secure manner.
A 63-year-old man, also residing at the Dennington address, is expected to be charged on summons with possessing ammunition without a licence and being an unlicensed person failing to store cartridge ammunition in a secure manner.
Only one of the 84 licensed firearm storage inspections resulted in firearms being seized.
Police seized 21 firearms, including three that were unregistered, from a Narrawong property.
A 53-year-old man was interviewed for failing to have the correct security system in place and is expected to be charged on summons with possession of three unregistered firearms.
Acting Detective Sergeant Blake Amos, of the Warrnambool Divisional Tasking Team, said it was an operation of significance.
"Unsecured firearms are sitting ducks for serious criminals, so we make no apologies for regularly checking how owners are storing their firearms to make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands," he said.
"It's heartening to see the vast majority of licenced firearm owners in our community are keeping their weapons safe but that is certainly not permission to become complacent.
"We will continue to run regular operations like this to seize firearms and other weapons from negligent firearm owners, as well as violent and dangerous people, ensuring the safety of south-west Victorians."
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