Unregistered Firearms (NSW)
In New South Wales, supplying, acquiring, using or possessing a firearm that is not registered carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment if the firearm is a pistol or a prohibited firearm, or 5 years imprisonment in any other case. All firearms are required to be registered in a Firearm Registry. Owners are issued with a certificate of registration for proof that the firearm is registered which matches to the firearms individual serial number.
The offence of Unregistered Firearms is contained in section 36 of the Firearms Act 1996 which states: a person must not supply, acquire, possess or use a firearm that is not registered.
Maximum penalty: imprisonment for 14 years if the firearm concerned is a pistol or prohibited firearm, or imprisonment for 5 years in any other case.
What actions may lead to this charge?
The following actions could form the basis of a charge of possessing an unregistered fiream.
- Transferring ownership of a firearm that is not registered through a sale, as a gift, bartering, or through exchange.
- Receiving, or accepting a firearm that is not registered;
- Possessing (in your car, house, or other premises under your control) a firearm that is not registered.
What must be proven?
To convict you of supplying, possessing, using or acquiring a unregistered firearm, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That you supplied, purchased, possessed or used a firearm and
- The firearm was not registered.
Possible defences to unauthorised use or possession of a pistol or prohibited firearm charge include:
- That the offence was committed under duress;
- That the firearm was in fact registered;
- That you did not know, or could not reasonably be expected to have known, that the firearm was unregistered, and you were not the owner of the firearm at the time of the alleged offence
- If you purchased the firearm and you are a licensed firearms dealer and an application for registration of the firearm is made within 24 hours after acquiring the firearm
- You were possessing or using a firearm and you are from a state or territory other than NSW and the firearm is registered in that state.
Which court will hear the matter?
This offence is a Table 2 offence. This means that the matter will likely be dealt with in the Local Court, however, the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If they do so, this will give rise to harsher penalties.
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