Licenced Firearm Dealer Charged With 40 Firearm Offences
In Australia, we have very strict laws in relation to firearms. Although these strict laws are in place, firearm offences have become so overwhelmingly common in recent times as we seen in the media. These offences are dealt with seriously by the Courts and carry heavy and lengthy sentences. Pursuant to the relevant law, a person can only obtain a firearm if they are a licensed dealer or hold a permit. A person must obtain their firearm from a licensed dealer, a police officer, or under another lawful authority. The same laws apply if a person is selling or otherwise disposing of a firearm. It was reported that last month a licenced firearm dealer in New South Wales has been charged with more than 40 firearms offences and had more than 300 guns seized from his business. NSW Police have described this case as â€śone of the most significant arrests in organised crimeâ€ť.
Shane Simpson, 46, was a gun shop owner and a presenter on Hunting the Menu. He was arrested at his Port Kembla gun shop and charged following a raid. It was reported that Simpson flooded the black market with high-powered weapons. Police allege he was the mastermind in a scheme and claimed he would complete dodgy paperwork to sell guns under the radar and to people without firearms licences. It is understood the guns Simpson allegedly sold were used in high-end crime, including one of Sydney’s most notorious gangland murders and drive-by shootings in other states. Reportedly after selling the guns, Simpson is accused of altering and falsifying documents, which were then sent to the NSW Firearms Registry. It is alleged he did that to ensure there was no record of where the guns ended up.
NSW State Crime Acting Commander Stuart Smith said detectives attached to Strike Force Myosoti have spent six months piecing together the “rigorous” investigation. Further stating, “We worked closely with the firearms registry and ballistics unit to get a positive match of a number of firearms,” he said.
Police say during their investigations they have identified more than 300 pistols allegedly disposed of illegally by the firearms dealer. About 30 firearms have since been recovered and linked to organised crime, including more than 20 pistols located at crime scenes in NSW.
Acting Commander Smith said “It takes a great deal of time to catch a professional facilitator of organised crime, we will allege he is a profit monger in terms of organised crime and that weapons that have been recovered have certainly been recovered from crime scenes including from gangland murders and other crimes in other statesâ€ť.
It is confirmed that there has been no application for Bail or any pleas that have been entered by the accused.
Pursuant to section 7A of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) a person must not possess a firearm unless the person has a licence or permit to do so. A person is only permitted to possess a firearm within the category of licence held.
The Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 (NSW) prohibits anyone from use, possession, buying, selling, carrying or manufacturing a weapon (unless they have a valid permit).
WHAT MUST THE PROSECUTION PROVE?
Since possessing firearms and weapons is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution. The prosecution must prove the accusedâ€™s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of firearms or weapons possession.
To establish firearms or weapons possession, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:
That you were in possession of or using a:
- Prohibited firearm; or Pistol; or Weapon
And either of the following:
- You did not have a licence to do so; or
- You had a licence, but you were using or possessing a firearm or weapon in a way that contravenes a condition of your licence; or
- You had a firearm or weapon licence but were using the firearm or weapon otherwise than for the purpose established by you as being the genuine reason for possessing or using the firearm/weapon.
For Firearms offences the maximum sentences depend on the nature of the firearm and are up to 14 years for the simplest possession. The maximums are even longer for individuals who are classified as â€śprohibited persons,â€ť including those who have been convicted of serious crimes AND also higher again where there has been an unauthorised use of a Firearm.
To obtain more information or to read more about the offence of firearms and weapons, please visit our website by clicking this link.
To read more about our blog in relation to whether gun laws are tight enough, click on this link.