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Altering Identification Marks Of Weapons

What the law says

Sections 63 of the Weapons Act Queensland states:

 A person must not, without reasonable excuse-

  • (a) deface or alter any identifying serial number or mark on a weapon: or
  • (b) possess a weapon the identifying serial number or mark of which has been defaced or altered; or
  • (c) acquire or sell a weapon the identifying serial number or mark of which has been defaced or altered.

Principles and Object of Act

  1. The principles underlying this act are as follows-
    • (a) weapon possession and their use are subordinate to the need to ensure public and individual safety;
    • (b) public and individual safety is improved by imposing strict controls on the possession of weapons and requiring the safe and secure storage and carriage of weapons.
  2. The object of this act is to prevent the misuse of weapons.

How object is to be achieved for firearms

The object of this Act is to achieved for firearms by-

  • (a) prohibiting the possession and use of all automatic and self loading rifles and automatic and self loading shotguns except in special circumstances; and
  • (b) establishing an integrated licensing and registration scheme for firearms; and
  • (c) requiring each person who wishes to possess a firearm under a licence to demonstrate a genuine reason for possessing the firearm; and
  • (d) providing strict requirements that must be satisfied for-
    • (i) licences authorising possession of firearms; and
    • (ii) the acquisition and sale of firearms; and
  • (e) ensuring that firearms are stored and carried in a safe and secure way

What the police must prove

In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1. The accused defaced or altered any identifying serial number or mark on a weapon; or
  2. The accused possessed a weapon the identifying serial number or mark of which has been defaced or altered; or
  3. The accused acquired or sold a weapon the identifying serial number or mark of which has been defaced or alerted.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.

Maximum penalty

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Altering Identification Marks of Weapons is 100 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment.

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is indictable which means it is dealt with in the Magistrates Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. The accused had a lawful excuse to deface or alter any serial number or mark on the weapon; or
  2. The accused did not possess a firearm the serial number or mark of which has been defaced or altered; or
  3. The accused did not acquire or sell a firearm the serial number or mark of which has been defaced or altered.
  4. It was not the accused.

Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Altering Identification Marks of Weapons matters)

 

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