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Revocation of Weapons Licences (Qld)

Queensland has strict firearms laws, which are outlined in the Weapons Act 1990, to ensure the safety of the public. In order for a person to own a firearm in Queensland, they must be the holder of a weapons licence. There is an application process that is required to be completed, for consideration to be given to granting a person a weapons licence. However, after a person has been granted a licence, the licence can be revoked under certain circumstances. This article deals with the revocation of weapons licences in Queensland.

When can a weapons licence be granted?

In order for a weapons licence to be granted in Queensland, a person must:

  1. Meet personal eligibility requirements (which include age, health and demonstrating that the person is a fit and proper person to hold a weapons licence);
  2. Have a genuine reason to hold a licence (such as work or recreation);
  3. Have somewhere secure to store the weapon;
  4. Complete an approved weapons course in the 12 months prior to applying; and
  5. Provide evidence of identity.

Who is responsible for the revocation of weapons licences

Decisions on the revocation of weapons licences can be made by an authorised officer. An authorised officer is a police officer who is authorised by the Commissioner of Police to make decisions under the Weapons Act.

These decisions include:

  1. Revoking a weapons licence;
  2. Suspended a weapons licence; or
  3. Not renewing a weapons licence.

Fit and Proper Person

The Weapons Act 1990 section 29 states that an authorised officer may revoke a weapons licence if a person is no longer a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold a licence. The Act does not define ‘fit and proper person’, however, it does provide a non-exhaustive list of matters to be considered when determining whether a licensee is a fit and property person. These are:

  • The mental and physical fitness of the person. This includes considering whether a person has any medical conditions such as eye or vision impairment, seizures, brain injuries and psychological issues.
  • Whether a Domestic Violence Order has been made (other than a temporary protection order). The law states that any person who is subject to a protection order is not permitted to hold a weapons licence whatsoever. There is no scope to argue with respect to this, and this is a law that is strictly applied.
  • Whether the applicant provided any false or misleading material in their application for a licence.
  • Whether there is any criminal intelligence or other information that indicates that the person is a risk to public safety or that authoring the person to possess a weapon would be contrary to the public interest.
  • The public interest generally. This is not well defined within the Act, and accordingly, is to be considered in each case on its own merits. It is a question of whether it is in the public interest for the subject person to hold a weapons licence when having regard to the scope and purpose of the legislation. The principles of the Act are to ensure public safety and to prevent misuse of weapons. This could include circumstances where a person has been convicted of a criminal offence (even if it is not a weapons-related offence), and whether such criminal conviction could impact the person’s ability to uphold the principles of the weapons act. Offences relating to drugs, violence or weapons are likely to see a person have their weapons licence revoked for a minimum of 5 years.

A person may be deemed fit and proper at the time the licence is issued but circumstances could change and if an authorised officer no longer believes a weapons licence holder is fit and proper, they can revoke the licence.

Appealing the revocation of weapons licences

If a decision is made to revoke a person’s weapons licence, there is an avenue of appeal. The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) can review a decision of an authorised person, and can either:

  1. Confirm or amend the original decision of the authorised person;
  2. Set it aside a decision and substitute its own decision; or
  3. Set aside the decision and return it to the original decision-maker, that being Queensland Police Licencing.

Once an application is made, QCAT will issue directions as to the filing of material. This is the evidence the appellant is relying on as to why the decision to revoke the licence is wrong. The authorised officer will file material in response.

A QCAT member will then review the evidence and make a decision.

Ultimately, prospects of success at a hearing would fall on whether the Tribunal Member deems the person to be a fit and proper person to hold a firearms licence. As advised above, the term ‘fit and proper person’ is not defined and is a matter of interpretation of each case on its own merits, including the facts around the revocation and the person’s circumstances.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Laura Turner - Senior Associate - Brisbane

This article was written by Laura Turner - Senior Associate - Brisbane

Laura Turner holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (majoring in psychology) from the University of Tasmania. She also holds a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the College of Law and is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Queensland. Laura began her practical legal experience whilst at university, volunteering with the Student Legal Service offering...

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