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Possession Of Air Rifle - QLD

What the law says

Sections 67 of the Weapons Act Queensland states:

  1. A person must not, without reasonable excuse, possess or acquire a restricted item.
  2. For subsection (1), it is not a reasonable excuse to possess or acquire a restricted item for crowd or traffic control.
    (Restricted Item means an item prescribed as a restricted item under the Weapons Categories Regulations).
    Restricted Items (Act, s 67) Weapons Categories Regulation 1997
    • (a) Handcuffs, thumbcuffs or other similar restraints;
    • (b) Nunchaku or kung-fu sticks or any similar device which consists of 2 hard non flexible sticks, clubs, pipes or rode connected by a length of rope, cord, wire or chain constructed or designed to be used in connection with the practice of a system of self defence and which if used offensively against a person is or are capable of causing bodily harm;
    • (c) A billy club, a baton or any device constructed or designed as a telescopic baton not being a toy or a category M weapon, that if used is capable of causing bodily harm;
    • (d) Any studded glove which if used offensively against a person capable of causing bodily harm.

Category M weapons

Each of the following is a category M weapon-

  • (a) any clothing, apparel, accessory or article designed to disguise any weapon or other cutting or piercing instrument capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (b) any of the following that is primarily designed for the control of native or feral animals-
    • (i) an antipersonnel gas of a corrosive, noxious or irritant nature or that is capable of causing bodily harm and any weapon capable of discharging the gas by any means;
    • (ii) an antipersonnel substance of a corrosive, noxious or irritant nature or that is capable of discharging the substance by any means;
  • (c) any knife so designed or constructed so as to be used as a weapon that while the knife is held in 1 hand, the blade may be released by that hand;
  • (d) any clothing, apparel, adornment or accessory designed for use as a weapon or a cutting or piercing instrument capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (e) any incendiary or inflammable device containing any substance capable of causing bodily harm or damage to property that is primarily designed for vegetation management;
  • (f) any pistol crossbow designed to be discharged by the use of 1 hand (that is not a toy pistol crossbow) that when discharged is capable of causing damage or injury to property or capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (g) any crossbow designed to be discharged by the use of 2 hand that, when discharged, is capable of causing damage or injury to property or capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (h) a chinese throwing iron that is a hard non flexible plate having 3 or more radiating points with 1 or more sharp edges in the shape of a polygon, trefoil, cross, star, diamond or geometric shape and constructed or designed to be thrown as a weapon;
  • (i) a flail or similar device constructed and designed as a weapon consisting of in part a striking head and which, if used offensively against a person, is capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (j) a device known as a 'manrikiguisari' or 'kusari' consisting of a length of rope, cord, wire or chain fastened at each end to a geometrically shaped weight or handgrip and constructed or designed to be used as a weapon;
  • (k) a device known as a knuckleduster or a device made or adopted for use as a knuckleduster and which, if used offensively against a person, is capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (l) a weighted glove designed or constructed to be used as a weapon;
  • (m) a mace or any similar article (other than a ceremonial mace made for and used solely as a symbol of authority on ceremonial occasions);
  • (n) any device, not a toy, constructed or designed as a telescopic baton, the extension of which is actuated by the operation of a mechanical trigger.

Principles 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 had a weapon as defined under the Weapons Categories Regulation 1997.

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

  • (a) if the person lawfully possesses 10 or more weapons at least 5 of which are Category D, E, H, or R weapons-13 years imprisonment; or
  • (b) if paragraph (a) does not apply and the person unlawfully possesses 10 or more weapons-500 penalty units or 10 years imprisonment; or
  • (c) if paragraphs (a) an (b) do not apply-
    • (i) for a category D, H, or R weapon-300 penalty units or 7 years imprisonment; or
    • (ii) for a category C or E weapon-200 penalty units or 4 years imprisonment.
    • (iii) For a category A, B, M weapon-100 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment.

A court in sentencing a person found guilty of an offence against subsection (1) may take into consideration whether the person stored the weapon in the way prescribed under a regulation for the weapon.

Category A weapons

  1. Each of the following is a category A weapon if it has not been rendered permanently inoperable-
    • (a) a miniature cannon under 120cm in barrel length that is a black powder and muzzle loading cannon, depicting a scale model of an historical artillery piece or naval gun;
    • (b) an air rifle;
    • (c) a blank-fire firearm at least 75 cm in length;
    • (d) a rimfire rifle (other than a self-loading rimfire rifle);
    • (e) a single or double barrel shotgun;
    • (f) a powerhead.
  2. A conversion unit means a unit or device or barrel that is capable of being used for converting a category A weapon that is a firearm from one calibre to another calibre.

Category B weapons

  1. Each of the following is a category B weapon if it has not been rendered permanently inoperable-
    • (a) a muzzle-loading firearm;
    • (b) a single shot centre fire rifle;
    • (c) a double barrel centre fire rifle
    • (d) a repeating centre fire rifle
    • (e) a break action shotgun and rifle combination.
  2. A conversion unit is also a category B weapon
  3. Conversion unit means a unit or device or barrel that is capable of being used for converting a category B weapon that is a firearm from one calibre to another calibre.

Category C weapons

Each of the following is a category C weapon if it has not been rendered permanently inoperable-

  • (a) a semiautomatic rimrifle with a magazine capacity no greater than 10 rounds;
  • (b) a semiautomatic shotgun with a magazine capacity no greater than 5 rounds
  • (c) a pump action shotgun with a magazine capacity no greater than 5 rounds.

Category D weapons

  1. Each of the following is a category D weapon-
    • (a) A self loading centre fire rifle designed or adapted for military purposes or a firearm that substantially duplicates a rifle of that type in design, function or appearance;
    • (b) A non military style self loading centre fire rifle with either an integral or detachable magazine;
    • (c) A self- loading shotgun with either an integral or detachable magazine with a capacity of more than 5 rounds and a pump action shotgun with a capacity of more than 5 rounds;
    • (d) A self loading rimfire rifle with a magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds.

Category E weapons

A bulletproof vest or protective body vest or body armour designed to prevent the penetration of small arms projectiles is a category E weapon.

Category H weapons

  1. A firearm, including an air pistol and a blank-fire firearm, under 75cm in length, other than a powerhead, is a category H weapon, regardless of whether it has been rendered permanently inoperable.
  2. A conversion unit is also a category H weapon.
  3. This section does not apply to a powerhead or category C, D, or R weapon.
  4. In this section- Conversion unit means a unit or device or barrel that is capable of being used for converting a category H weapon that is a firearm from one calibre to another calibre.

Category H weapon classes

For schedule 2 of the Act, each of the following comprises a class of category H weapon-

  • (a) an air pistol;
  • (b) a centre-fire pistol with a calibre of not more than .38 inches or a black powder pistol;
  • (c) a centre fire pistol with a calibre of more than .38 inch but not more than .45 inch;
  • (d) a rim fire pistol.

Category M weapons

Each of the following is a category M weapon-

  • (a) any clothing, apparel, accessory or article designed to disguise any weapon or other cutting or piercing instrument capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (b) any of the following that is primarily designed for the control of native or feral animals-
    • (i) an antipersonnel gas of a corrosive, noxious or irritant nature or that is capable of causing bodily harm and any weapon capable of discharging the gas by any means;
    • (ii) an antipersonnel substance of a corrosive, noxious or irritant nature or that is capable of discharging the substance by any means;
  • (c) any knife so designed or constructed so as to be used as a weapon that while the knife is held in 1 hand, the blade may be released by that hand;
  • (d) any clothing, apparel, adornment or accessory designed for use as a weapon or a cutting or piercing instrument capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (e) any incendiary or inflammable device containing any substance capable of causing bodily harm or damage to property that is primarily designed for vegetation management;
  • (f) any pistol crossbow designed to be discharged by the use of 1 hand (that is not a toy pistol crossbow) that when discharged is capable of causing damage or injury to property or capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (g) any crossbow designed to be discharged by the use of 2 hand that, when discharged, is capable of causing damage or injury to property or capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (h) a chinese throwing iron that is a hard non flexible plate having 3 or more radiating points with 1 or more sharp edges in the shape of a polygon, trefoil, cross, star, diamond or geometric shape and constructed or designed to be thrown as a weapon;
  • (i) a flail or similar device constructed and designed as a weapon consisting of in part a striking head and which, if used offensively against a person, is capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (j) a device known as a 'manrikiguisari' or 'kusari' consisting of a length of rope, cord, wire or chain fastened at each end to a geometrically shaped weight or handgrip and constructed or designed to be used as a weapon;
  • (k) a device known as a knuckleduster or a device made or adopted for use as a knuckleduster and which, if used offensively against a person, is capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (l) a weighted glove designed or constructed to be used as a weapon;
  • (m) a mace or any similar article (other than a ceremonial mace made for and used solely as a symbol of authority on ceremonial occasions);
  • (n) any device, not a toy, constructed or designed as a telescopic baton, the extension of which is actuated by the operation of a mechanical trigger.

Category R weapons

Each of the following is a category R weapon-

  • (a) a machine gun or submachine gun that is fully automatic in its operation and actuated by energy developed when it is being fired or has multiple revolving barrels, and any replica or facsimile of a machine gun that is not a toy;
  • (b) a unit or device that is capable of being used for converting any firearm to a weapon mentioned in paragraph (a);
  • (c) a firearm capable of firing 50 calibre BMG cartridge ammunition;
  • (d) an antipersonnel gas, and an antipersonnel substance, of a corrosive, noxious or irritant nature or that is capable of causing bodily harm, and any weapon capable of discharging the gas or substance and any weapon capable of discharging the gas or substance that is primarily designed for the control of native or feral animals;
  • (e) an acoustical antipersonnel device of an intensity that is capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (f) an electrical antipersonnel device of the intensity that is capable of causing bodily harm;
  • (g) a hand grenade, other than an inert hand grenade, and an antipersonnel mine;
  • (h) a silencer or other device or contrivance made or used, or capable of being used or intended to be used, for reducing the sound caused by discharging a firearm;
  • (i) a rocket launcher, recoilless rifle, antitank rifle, a bazooka or a rocket propelled grenade type launcher;

a mortar, all artillery and any incendiary or inflammable device containing any subsyance capable of causing bodily harm or damage to property, other than an incendiary or inflammable device primarily designed for vegetation management

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is indictable which means it is dealt with in the District Court. It may also be dealt with summarily in the Magistrates Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. The accused did not have a weapon as defined under the Weapons Categories Regulation 1997
  2. Identification i.e. not the accused

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

 

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