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What are weapons and firearm offences?

There are a variety of serious criminal offences that are associated with the possession of illegal firearms and weapons. There are also special circumstances where the possession and use of firearms and weapons are considered lawful.

What are firearm offences?

In NSW an individual requires a licence or permit to legally possess a firearm.  It is an offence to possess or use a firearm without a licence or permit.  It is also an offence for a person with a licence to possess a firearm and use it in a way which is:

  • inconsistent with the genuine purpose established for the person’s authorised use of the firearm or,
  • breaches a condition of the person’s licence to use the firearm.

In addition to possession offences, there are various other offences relating to the acquisition of firearms, supply of firearms and the misuse of firearm licences and permits.

Penalties associated with firearms offences

Firearms offences carry very serious penalties, for example, the offence of unauthorised possession or use of a prohibited firearm has a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.  In many circumstances, the seriousness of a firearm offence and its penalty will be determined by the type of firearm involved in the offence. For example, offences involving prohibited firearms such as machine guns carry more serious penalties.

What are weapons offences?

There are a number of offences associated with prohibited weapons. In NSW, it is an offence to be in the possession or to use a prohibited weapon unless you are authorised to do so by permit.  There are other offences relating to prohibited weapons, such as those relating to the selling and purchase of prohibited weapons.

Penalties associated with weapons offences

Prohibited weapons offences are very serious and carry with them various penalties. For example, the offence of unauthorised possession or use of a prohibited weapon carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

What firearms are considered prohibited firearms?

There is a list of prohibited firearms that can be found in schedule 1 of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW).

What weapons are considered prohibited weapons

There is a list of prohibited weapons that can be found in schedule 1 of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 (NSW).

Can I be guilty of a firearm or weapons offence if I have a licence or permit to use a particular firearm or weapon?

Yes, whilst you can use and possess firearms and prohibited weapons if you hold an appropriate licence or permit to do so, you may still be found guilty of an offence. This may occur where you are using the weapon or firearm in a manner which is inconsistent with the purpose of legitimately possessing or using the weapon or firearm. Further, you may also commit an offence where you have breached a condition of your licence or permit to possession and use a firearm.

You may also be found guilty of an offence if you do not keep your licenced firearm in a safe and secure location. To avoid this, you must take all reasonable precautions necessary to ensure your authorised firearm or weapon is in safe keeping, is not stolen or lost, and does not come into the possession of a person who is not authorised to possess the firearm or weapon. There are more specific requirements for the safe keeping of certain kinds of weapons and firearms.

If you have a licence or permit to use a firearm or weapon it must be legitimate. If it is not, then you risk receiving a fine or 2 years imprisonment or both.  Authorised officers and police have unique powers to demand the inspection of firearm and weapon licences and permits.

Why BSM Lawyers

Firearm and weapons offences are very serious offences that should be handled with diligence and expertise.

Brander Smith McKnight’s criminal defence lawyers have extensive experience with firearm and weapons offences and can help you if you have been charged with one of these offences.

FAQs

chevronWhat firearms are considered prohibited firearms?

There is a list of prohibited firearms that can be found in schedule 1 of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW).

chevronWhat weapons are considered prohibited weapons

There is a list of prohibited weapons that can be found in schedule 1 of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 (NSW).

chevronCan I be guilty of a firearm or weapons offence if I have a licence or permit to use a particular firearm or weapon?

Yes, whilst you can use and possess firearms and prohibited weapons if you hold an appropriate licence or permit to do so, you may still be found guilty of an offence. This may occur where you are using the weapon or firearm in a manner which is inconsistent with the purpose of legitimately possessing or using the weapon or firearm. Further, you may also commit an offence where you have breached a condition of your licence or permit to possession and use a firearm.

You may also be found guilty of an offence if you do not keep your licenced firearm in a safe and secure location. To avoid this, you must take all reasonable precautions necessary to ensure your authorised firearm or weapon is in safe keeping, is not stolen or lost, and does come into the possession of a person who is not authorised to possess the firearm or weapon.

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