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Sydney NSW 2000
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Melbourne VIC 3000
231 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000
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Canberra ACT 2601
111 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
Statistics show that the number of guns in the hands of private citizens in Australia is on the rise. Whilst there has been a decrease in the number of individual owners per thousand people, there are more guns privately owned in Australia now than before the first gun amnesty under the Howard Government in 1996. In 2017 there was a further amnesty which saw a handing in of an average 464 firearms per day, between July 1 and 30 September (as reported on 8 September, 2017, The Guardian).
The reason for this increased ownership, is an increase in private suburban firearms being stockpiled, with fewer owners owning more firearms per captia.
Registered v Unregistered v Illegal
Registered and licensed firearms are only one small piece of the overall landscape. Whilst the stockpiling of firearms creates opportunities for criminals to target licensed owners, making safe and secure storage a significant concern. However, it is illegal firearms and the sale of these weapons which remains the primary risk category.
In NSW, there are a number of different licence categories provided for in the Firearms Act 1996. A strict threshold for confiscation and loss of firearms applies for failure to comply with licence restrictions.
The Ongoing Debate
The vast majority of our clients who are facing the loss of their firearm licences are legally registered gun owners who cherish their licences and collections. The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP), who represent the interests of many of the legal gun owners in Australia, feel that the issue is not legal gun ownership but illegal gun ownership. In an article by abc.net.au on 16 July 2017, Justice Minister Michael Keenan stated:
“We know that we’ve got a big illicit firearm market in Australia, 260,000 illicit guns we believe are out there.”
Since 2012 the SFFP has tried to introduce into legislation, mandatory minimum sentences to section 93IA(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). In the second reading speech, Legislative Council Hansard on 15 March 2012, which would effectively:
“… make it an offence to be in possession of a firearm or imitation firearm at the time of committing or attempting to commit certain specified serious offences or to aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission by another person of a specified serious offence while that person is in possession of a firearm or imitation firearm. The Bill also imposes a further penalty if a firearm or imitation firearm is discharged or used at the time that either of the new offences is committed…. the extra sentence for being in possession of a weapon is to be served cumulatively, not concurrently.”
I have been charged with an offence, what do I do next?
If you are a registered firearms owner and have been charged with an offence that would see your licence revoked, it is important you receive timely and accurate advice relating to your rights and remedies. Please contact Armstrong Legal immediately for an obligation free consultation and to plan your defence on 02 9261 4555.
Image Credit – Pop Nukoonrat © 123RF.com
Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100