Are you are facing suspension or cancellation of your firearm’s license or charged with a firearms related offence?
Firearm Offences Are Prosecuted under the Firearms Act 1966 (Vic). The law for good reason attaches serious responsibilities on the possession and use of firearms. Where the use or possession of a firearm or ammunition is not in compliance with the Act or regulations, serious penalties may apply.
The Firearms Act 1966 (Vic) (The Act) is the governing legislation for offences arising out of the possession or use of a firearm. The Act also sets out the licensing requirements and the circumstances under which a license may be suspended or cancelled. (a prohibited person, or fit and proper person requirement)
The Act contains a variety of offence provisions, some of which are summary offences, and others indictable.
The Act also differentiates the severity of penalties based on whether a person is a prohibited or non-prohibited person, and whether the firearm in question (and there are several varieties defined under the Act) is unregistered.
The maximum penalty for a prohibited person to carry, or use a longarm firearm is 10 years imprisonment (section 5 of the Act).
A non-prohibited person who commits the same offence however faces a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment (section 6 of the Act).
Sentencing outcomes For Firearm Offences
The sentencing outcomes available for a firearm offence will vary greatly depending on factors such as:
Whether the accused was a prohibited person
Whether the firearm was registered
The type of firearm possesses or used
Whether the accused had prior firearm offences
Matters personal to the accused
The sentencing outcomes for a firearms offences span all options available under the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic):
Community Correction Order
Whether a sentencing outcome is made with or without conviction will also depend upon various factors. In some cases, a firearm offence will be an aggravating feature of another offence (trafficking drug of dependence, home invasion, armed robbery).
Prohibited Person and the Firearms Act
Sentencing outcomes such as imprisonment of Community Corrections Orders may result in a person being deemed a prohibited person. However, other outcomes which are civil in nature such as the making of a Final Intervention Order (whether Personal Safety or Family Violence) will also result in a person being deemed a prohibited person, their firearms license cancelled, and any use or possession of a firearm is unlawful and renders a person liable to an offence described above. Consequently, when considering whether to consent or contest an Intervention Order, the impact on a respondent’s firearm license must be considered. Although not bearing solely on the issue of firearms, refer to our article for general information and tips on things to consider when responding to Intervention Orders in the Magistrates Court of Victoria.
To learn more about the circumstances whereby a person can make a court application to be deemed a non-prohibited person read our article.
Firearm Offence Resources
Firearm Offences in Victoria
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