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Possession Of Unregistered Firearm

What the law says

Sections 50(1) of the Weapons Act Queensland states:

A person must not unlawfully possess a weapon.

A weapon means-

  • (a) A firearm: or
  • (b) another thing prescribed under a regulation to be a weapon or within a category of weapon; or
  • (c) a thing that would be a weapon mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b), if it were not temporarily inoperable.

Principles and Object of Act

  1. The principles underlying this act are as follows-
    • (a) weapon possession and the 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 is 60 penalty units.

A licensed dealer or licensed armourer does not contravene this act if the unregistered firearm is entered in a dealer's or armourer's weapons register under section 71

Which court will hear the matter

This matter is can only be dealt with in the Magistrates Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. The accused did not have a firearm as defined under the Schedule 2 of Weapons Act
  2. Identification i.e. not the accused.
  3. The accused did not know a firearm was in his possession.
  4. The accused honestly and reasonably but mistakenly believed the thing was not a firearm.
  5. The firearm was not in the accused's control.

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

 

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