Firearm offences are serious offences in NSW and carry with it very severe penalties.  In New South Wales, you can be charged with firearm offences under the Firearms Act 1996 and theCrimes Act 1900.  Offences relating to firearms can vary from unauthorised possession, possession of unregistered firearms and discharging a firearm in a public place.

What is a firearm?

Section 4 of the Firearms Act 1996 states:

A firearm means a gun, or other weapon, that is (or at any time was) capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive, and includes a blank-fire firearm, or an air gun. A prohibited firearm includes:

  • Rifles
  • Machine Guns
  • Shotguns

Under section 4(c) of the Firearms Act 1996, a prohibited pistol is defined as:

(a)    A pistol with a calibre of more than .38 inch,

(b)    A self-loading pistol with a barrel length of less than 120mm;

(c)     A revolver with a barrel length of less than 100mm.

Offences under the Firearms Act 1996

Section 7A states:

(1)     A person must not possess or use firearm unless that person is authorised to do so by a licence or permit.

(2)    A person who is the holder of a licence is guilty of an offence under the section if the person:

(a)    Uses a firearm for any purpose otherwise than in connection with the purpose established by the person as being the genuine reason for possessing or using the firearm; or

(b)   Contravenes any condition of the licence.

Section 7(1) states:

(1)    A person must not possess or use a prohibited firearm or pistol unless  the person is authorised to do so by  a licence or permit.

(2)    A person who is  the holder of a licence is guilty of an offence under this section if the person:

(a)    Uses a prohibited firearm or pistol for any purpose otherwise than in connection with the purpose established by the person as being the genuine reason for possessing or using the prohibited firearm or pistol; or

(b)   Contravenes any condition of the licence.

Penalty For Possessing A Firearm Under Section S7A

Offences Penalties
s7A – Unauthorised possession or use of firearms generally 5 years imprisonment
s7 – Unauthorised possession or use of prohibited firearms of pistols 14 years imprisonment

Offences under the Crimes Act 1900

Section 93G states:

(1)    Any person who:

(a)    Possesses a loaded firearm or loaded spear gun:

(i)                  In a public place, or

(ii)                In any other place so as to endanger the life of any other person, or

(b)    Fires a firearm or spear gun in or near  a public place, or

(c)    Carries or fires a firearm or spear gun in a manner likely to injure, or to endanger the safety of, themselves or any other person or property or with disregard to the safety of himself or herself or any other person.

Section 93GA states:

(1)    A person who fires a firearm at a dwelling house or other building with reckless disregard for the safety  of any person. Is guilty of an offence.

(1A) A person who, during a public disorder, fires a firearm at a dwelling-house or other building  with reckless disregard for the safety of any person. Is guilty of an offence.

(1B)  A person who, in the course of  an organised criminal activity, fires a firearm at a dwelling house or other building with reckless disregard for the safety of any person, Is guilty of an offence.

It is important to note that it is not necessary to prove that a person was actually placed in danger by the firing of the firearm.

Section 93H states:

(1)    A person who, possessing a firearm, imitation firearm, spear gun or imitation spear gun, enters any building or land, unless the person:

(A)   Is the owner or occupier of the building or land or has the permission of the owner/occupier or;

(B)   Does so with reasonable excuse or;

(C)   Does so for a lawful purpose.

Is guilty of an offence

(2)    A person who fires a firearm or spear gun in or into any building or on or onto any land, unless the person:

(a)    Is the owner or occupier of the building or has the permission of the owner/occupier or;

(b)   Does so with a reasonable excuse or;

(c)    Does so for a lawful purpose.

Is guilty of an offence

Section 93I states:

(1)    Any person who:

(a)    Possesses an unregistered firearm in a public place, and;

(b)   Is not authorised to possess the firearm.

Is guilty of an offence.

(2)     A person is guilty of an offence under circumstances of aggravation where, if the offence involves the possession of:

(a)    Of more than 1 unregistered firearm, or

(b)   Of an unregistered firearm that is a pistol, or

(c)    Of an unregistered firearm that is a prohibited firearm.

Defences For Possessing A Firearm

  • You must satisfy the Court that you had a reasonable excuse for possessing it or doing it or did it for a lawful purpose;
  • Duress; and
  • Necessity.

Penalty For Possessing A Firearm Under S93G

Offence Maximum Penalty
s93G-  Causing Danger with firearm or spear gun 10 years imprisonment
s93GA(1) – Firing at dwelling houses or buildings 16 years imprisonment
s93GA(1) – Firing at Dwelling houses or buildings during a public disorder 16 years imprisonment
s93GA(1B) Firing at dwelling house or buildings in the course of organised criminal activity 16 years Imprisonment
s93H(1) Trespassing with a firearm or spear gun 5 years imprisonment
s93H(2) Dangerous use of a firearm or spear gun 10 years imprisonment
s93I(1) Possession of an unregistered firearm in a public place 10 years imprisonment
s93I(2) Possession of an unregistered firearm in a public place in circumstances of aggravation 14 years imprisonment

To obtain the best result you need an experienced Criminal Lawyer who has the time to provide you with honest and realistic advice together with careful preparation of your case.

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