This article aims to provide an overview on the concept of firearm as contemplated by law, the possession of firearm, and how the offence of possession of firearm is committed and punished, including the defences available to the accused when charged under the applicable laws of New South Wales.
Possession of firearm without license to possess the same in certain instances is punishable by the law of New South Wales. The underlying principle of Firearms Act 1996 are to confirm firearm possession and use as being a privilege that is conditional on the overriding need to ensure public safety; to improve public safety by imposing strict controls on the possession and use of firearms; by promoting the safe and responsible storage and use of firearms; and to facilitate a national approach to the control of firearms.
A person is not allowed to possess a firearm unless he is legally authorized to possess the same. The offence of possession firearm is not committed by mere possession of firearm. What makes it an offence is the lack of authority or license to possess the same. However, the law extends to punish a person who possesses a license to possess a firearm but uses it for a purpose other than the purpose for which the license was granted. For better understanding of the offence, it is necessary to know some important terms used in the law.
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, but does not include anything declared by the regulations not to be a firearm.(Section 4, Crimes Act 1996)
The firearm in possession of the offender must be a firearm defined by the law. While the definition of a firearm seems to be all encompassing, it must not be one that is declared by the regulations as not a firearm. Otherwise, a person is not committing an offence of possession of firearm for possessing something considered by the regulations as not a firearm.
A firearm is taken to be in the possession of a person so long as it is in or on any premises owned, leased or occupied by, or in the care, control or management of, the person, unless the court is satisfied that the firearm was placed in or on, or brought into or on to, the premises by or on behalf of a person who was lawfully authorized by or under the law to possess the firearm; or the person did not know and could not reasonably be expected to have known that the firearm was in or on the premises; or on the evidence before it, the person was not in possession of the firearm. (Section 4A Firearms Act 1996)
The offence of possession of firearm is governed by Firearms Act 1996. Under the said law, a person is not allowed to possess or use a firearm without a license or permit. Thus, Section 7A of Firearms Act 1996 provides that person must not possess or use a firearm unless the person is authorised to do so by a licence or permit. The further states that a person who is a holder of a license is guilty of an offence if he 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 contravenes any condition of the licence.
The defence of the accused of the offence may be grounded on the fact that he had a license for possessing the firearm which is the subject matter of the offence. The accused may also allege in his defence that the subject matter of the offence charge is declared by the regulations as not a firearm.
Being involved in the criminal or police process can be quite demanding, rigorous, and time consuming. Hiring the right criminal lawyers can often make a substantial difference in your case. Criminal Lawyers Brisbane , Criminal lawyers Sydney ,Criminal lawyers Melbourne
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.