Firearms Offences

In NSW, firearms and weapons offences are viewed as serious offences, especially given the current climate. Firearms legislation regulates the possession, use, purchase, manufacture and supply of firearms and components. The intent of the legislation is to limit firearm possession and promote public safety.
In NSW, a firearm is defined quite broadly as a “gun or other weapon, that is (or at any time was) capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive”, including blank fire firearms and air guns. The legislation also treats imitation (“replica”) firearms, that are not specifically produced and identified as a children’s toy, in the same manner as the firearm / gun / pistol / rifle / weapon that they represent.

Unregistered Firearms
Section 36 of the Firearms Act provides: “A person must not sell, purchase, possess or use a firearm that is not registered.”

The maximum penalty for a “unregistered firearms” charge is 10 years imprisonment if the firearm is a prohibited firearm or pistol, or 5 years imprisonment in any other case.

If you have been charged with a “unregistered firearms” offence, we recommend that you seek legal advice promptly so that you can properly determine your options. Our lawyers are highly experienced in criminal law and they will be able to ascertain the strength of the prosecution case against you.

To convict you of an “unregistered firearm” charge, the Police must prove, beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. That you sold, purchased, possessed or used a firearm; and
  2. At the time, the firearm was not registered.

It is a defence if the person did not know, or could not reasonably be expected to have known that the firearm was unregistered and if they were not the owner at the time the offence is alleged to have occurred.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for an unregistered firearm charge.

  • Gaol;
  • Home detention;
  • Intensive correction order;
  • Suspended sentence;
  • Community service order (CSO);
  • Good behaviour bond;
  • Fine;
  • Section 10: unregistered firearm proven but dismissed.

Importation of Firearms

The offence of unlawfully importing firearms and firearm accessories is contained in section 233BAB of the Customs Act 1901 which defines firearms, accessories, ammunition and imitations as ‘tier 2 goods’ for the purpose of importation offences.

In Australia, the importation of firearms that are prohibited carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of 2,500 penalty units.

To convict you of an offence under this section, the police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  • You intentionally imported the goods;
  • That you knew, or were reckless to the fact that the goods were tier 2 goods; and
  • Importation of the goods:
    – Were prohibited by the regulations; or
    – Required prior approval from a specified authority which was not obtained at the time of the importation.

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