Australian Firearm Amnesty – SURRENDER or REGISTER ILLEGAL GUNS
GUNS AMNESTY AND SUGGESTED REFORMS OF GUN LICENCE LAWS
National Criminal Lawyers
NSW Police and the state government have announced a state-wide firearms amnesty, giving people three months to give up or register their illegal firearms without penalty. This comes just before the shooting of two teenagers at the hands of their licensed firearm holder father in Sydney recently.
During the three-month period in 2017, NSW netted 24,831 firearms and 1898 firearm parts for destruction, sale or registration – more than any other state or territory – prompting another operation to reduce the number of unregistered and unwanted firearms in the community.
The New South Wales opposition leader, Luke Foley, said the shooting murders should prompt the community to “pause and reflect” and examine what can change. He added “what happened last week should cause us to examine whether there are improvements that can be made,” Foley told reporters in Sydney.
A possible new licence regime
One possible new idea suggested by parliamentarians was that people be alerted or have a say when their partners or former partners apply for a gun licence. In effect it was suggested that a partner of a licence applicant would be able to object to the application or continuation of the licence if they had safety concerns. Under the reforms, police would have the power to suspend or revoke a licence and not issue a permit.
Firearms Possession in NSW
As it stands, Firearms possession in NSW is illegal unless you have a licence. This is reflected in the legislation that deals with Firearms, referred to as The Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) (“The Act”). Section 7 of The Act relevantly states that :
A person must not possess or use a pistol or prohibited firearm unless the person is authorised to do so by a licence or permit. A criminal conviction for this offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years full time imprisonment and may have serious impacts upon your freedom including, among other things, travel restraints and employment refusals.
For Firearms offences the maximum sentences depend on the nature of the firearm. The maximums are even longer for individuals who are classified as “prohibited persons,” including those who have been convicted of serious crimes AND higher again where there has been an unauthorised use of a Firearm. Please note, the above penalties are reserved for the worse cases of offending.
For more information on firearm possession please visit our dedicated page on firearms
National Criminal Lawyer’s recently represented a client who was charged with possessing an “imitation firearm”. Without a licence or exemption, it is illegal to possess or use firearms or weapons or to carry ordinary items for use as a weapon in NSW. The Firearms Act 1996 requires anyone who wants to own, possess, or carry a firearm, including handguns and long arms, and imitation weapons to obtain a licence.
The Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 further prohibits anyone from use, possession, buying, selling, carrying or manufacturing a weapon (unless they have a valid permit). Outlawed Weapons include any imitation firearm. The law makes it an exception if it can be established that the imitation firearm is in fact a “toy”.
This gun in question was unique as it had the capability to shoot out pellets. This specific gun was not sold in Australia.
Having received extensive instructions and making our own independent research, we engaged an expert in the field of ballistic and weapons and sourced a report on the item in question. This expert report provided a opinion that was consistent with the fact that gun is more of a toy than anything else. Although this toy was not for sale in Australia it was a common toy produced and manufactured in China.
Armed with the above information our Senior Criminal Lawyers wrote representations to the Prosecutors office and as a result the decision was made to discontinue the prosecution and the charges were officially withdrawn. Our clients were very happy as they were perusing a career in dentistry and any criminal offence of this nature would have been detrimental to his career.
If you have been charged with any firearm related offence, our Team at National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having these charges either withdrawn or achieving favourable outcomes for our clients.
Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.