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Possession of unregistered firearm in public place


Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In NSW, it is an offence to Possess an Unregistered Firearm in a Public Place. This offence carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. If the offence involves the possession of more than one unregistered firearm or of an unregistered firearm that is a pistol or of an unregistered firearm that is a prohibited firearm, then the offence is committed in circumstances of aggravation, the offence then carries a maximum penalty of fourteen years imprisonment.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for this charge:


The offence of Possess an Unregistered Firearm in Public Place is contained in section 93I(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and states:

(1) A person who possesses an unregistered firearm in a public place, and is not authorised under the Firearms Act 1996 to possess the firearm is guilty of an offence.

Maximum Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

Section 93I(2) and Section 93I(3) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) outline the maximum penalty if the offence involves circumstances of aggravation and how the offence can be aggravated:

(2) A person is guilty of an offence under this subsection if the person commits an offence under subsection (1) in circumstances of aggravation.

Maximum Penalty: Imprisonment for 14 years.

(3) An offence under subsection (1) is committed in "circumstances of aggravation" if the offence involves the possession:

  • (a) of more than one unregistered firearm, or
  • (b) of an unregistered firearm that is a pistol, or
  • (c) of an unregistered firearm that is a prohibited firearm.


An Unregistered Firearm, is a firearm that is not registered with the firearms registry.


Examples of Possess an Unregistered Firearm in Public Place include:

  • Taking an unregistered firearm to a park to practice shooting.
  • Having an unregistered firearm in your vehicle whilst driving.

Examples of Aggravated an Unregistered Firearm in Public Place include:

  • Possessing two unregistered firearms.
  • Possessing a pistol.
  • Possessing a machine gun, sub-machine gun or any other firearm capable of propelling projectiles in rapid succession during one pressure of the trigger.


To convict you of a Possession of Unregistered Firearm in Public Place the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you possessed an unregistered firearm in a public place, and
  • That you were not authorised under the Firearms Act 1996 to possess the firearm.


Possible defences to a "possession of unregistered firearm in public place" charge include, but are not limited to:

  • Duress;
  • Necessity;
  • 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.


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.

Types of penalties:

Jail: This is the most serious penalty for this charge in a public place and involves full time detention in a correctional facility. Read more.

Home Detention: Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. Read more.

Intensive correction order (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.

Periodic detention (commonly known as weekend detention): This form of imprisonment ceased to be a sentencing option in October 2010.

Suspended sentence: This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.

Community service order (CSO): This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.

Good behaviour bond: This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.

Fines: When deciding the amount of a fine for a aggravated possession of unregistered firearm in a public place charge the magistrate or judge should consider your financial situation and your ability to pay any fine they set. Read more.

Section 10: avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.

where to next?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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