Criminal Offences

Possess Unregistered Firearms

In NSW, it is a criminal offence for individuals to have firearms in their possession unless the firearm is registered and the individual carries a relevant licence or permit. Failure to hold a relevant permit for a firearm results in the offence of unauthorised possession. However, possession of unregistered firearms is also its own offence under section 36 of the Firearms Act 1996. This section specifically states that:

  1. A person must not supply, acquire, possess or use a firearm that is not registered.

Additionally, an individual could be liable to punishment for the serious criminal of possessing unregistered firearms in a public place as per section 93I of the Firearms Act 1996. This Act states that:

  1. A person who:
    1. Possesses an unregistered firearm in a public place, and
    2. Is not authorised under the Firearms Act 1996 to possess the firearm

    is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

  1. A person is guilty of an offence under this subsection if the person commits an offence under subsection 1 in circumstances of aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.
  2. For the purposes of subsection 2, an offence under subsection 1 is committed in circumstances of aggravation if the offence involves the possession:
    1. Of more than one unregistered firearm, or
    2. Of an unregistered firearm that is a pistol, or
    3. Of an unregistered firearm that is a prohibited firearm

Clearly, there are many laws surrounding unregistered firearms in NSW. Should you be caught in possession of an unregistered firearms, you will be liable to significant punishments, therefore it is advised to seek legal representation immediately.

Do not hesitate to contact Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders to schedule a confidential consultation.


There are a broad range of charges associated with the possession of unregistered firearms, all of which vary in severity. The maximum penalties associated with possession of unregistered firearms are found in the Firearms Act 1996 and are outlined below:

  • Section 36 – Unregistered firearms: Imprisonment for 14 years if the firearm concerned is a pistol or prohibited firearm, or imprisonment for 5 years in any other case.
  • Section 93I 1 – Possession of unregistered firearm in a public place: Imprisonment for 10 years
  • Section 93I 2 – Possession of unregistered firearms in aggravated circumstances: Imprisonment for 14 years

Although lengthy gaol times could be imposed should you be found guilty of such an offence, Crimes Statistics Australia revealed that from 2015-2016, only 17% of firearms offences resulted in a full time custodial sentence. This means that the Court has the ability to enforce other punishments such as a fine, home detention, Community Corrections Order (CCO) or Intensive Corrections Order (CSO) in appropriate situations. To determine whether an alternative penalty is sufficient punishment, Courts will deliberate on an individual’s character, personal circumstances, previous criminal history and the nature surrounding the offence on a case by case basis.

For the most accurate and honest advice pertinent to your specific case, please contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers to schedule a conditional consultation.


In order to be found guilty of possession of unregistered firearms, the prosecution will have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you supplied, purchased, possessed or used a firearm; and
  • The firearm in question is unregistered

The prosecution may also have to establish the particular firearm in question, as pistols and prohibited firearms warrant much more significant penalties. Furthermore, they must establish the following facts in order for you to be convicted with the possession of unregistered firearms in a public place:

  • You possessed the firearm in a public place; and/or
  • You had more than 1 unregistered firearm

If the prosecution is able to successfully establish these allegations, it is likely that the above penalties will be enforced. Therefore, If you personally agree with the allegations against you, it may be wise to consider pleading guilty to the crime. In this instance, the case will proceed to sentencing whereby the Court will decide the appropriate punishment relevant to your specific offence.

However, pleading guilty often warrants more successful outcomes as opposed to being found guilty otherwise. Submitting a guilty plea to the Court often demonstrates regret and remorse towards the unlawful activities that you participated in. As a result, it is not uncommon for the Court to impose less serious penalties and alternative punishments as discussed above.

If you or some you know has been charged with possession of unregistered firearms, contact our criminal defence lawyers for a consultation.


Alternatively, you have the option to plead not guilty, should you wish to do so. In this instance, a brief of evidence containing all the facts that will be used to convict you of the crime will be provided for examination. As expert criminal defence lawyers, it is our job to thoroughly analyse the evidence in order to provide our clients with accurate and honest advice. Upon consideration of this advice, you have the ability to adhere to your not guilty plea, or plead guilty to the charges if you wish.

It will then be up to the prosecution to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. If they are successful, a conviction is likely. Therefore, our criminal defence lawyers will aim to negate the claims and raise doubt on the evidence provided through the use of a relevant legal defence where appropriate. If our efforts our successful, the charges will either be completely dropped and no conviction will be recorded, or the charges will be downgraded in which lesser penalties usually apply.

As an award winning criminal law firm, Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders is home to we are some of the Sydney’s best criminal defence lawyers. If we represent your case, may be able to achieve more favourable outcome if we are successfully able to disprove the claims and argue the following defences.


In order to quash the allegations made against you in relation unauthorised possession of firearms, our expertly qualified criminal defence lawyers may argue the following legal defences.

Duress: Our criminal defence lawyers can successfully argue the defence of duress if it can be established that the accused participated in a criminal activity as a result of being coerced by harmful threats. These threats typically take form as threats death or grievous bodily harm.

Necessity: Although typically difficult to prove, the defence of necessity can be argued by our criminal defence lawyers in situations where it is found that the accused only participated in an unlawful act to avoid imminent danger by either human or natural forces.


Charges relating to the possession of unregistered firearms are generally dealt with in the Local Court. However, in some circumstances, an election may be made by either yourself or the prosecution for the matter to be heard before a District Court whereby the penalties incurred are generally more severe.

At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we have extensive experience in representing clients at Local, District and Supreme Courts. Regardless of where you matter is dealt with, you can be confident that our criminal defence lawyers are highly committed, dedicated and proficient to handle your case.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges relating to the possession of unregistered firearms, call our expert team now for a confidential consultation.