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Firearm Offences (Vic)

 In Victoria, firearms offences are governed by the Firearms Act 1996, which regulates the possession, use, purchase, manufacture, supply and storage of firearms and associated components. The intent of the legislation is to limit firearm possession and promote public safety. This page deals with firearms offences in Victoria.

Definition Of Firearms

A firearm is defined as a device that discharges a shot, bullet or other missile by the expansion of gases produced in the device by the ignition of strongly combustible materials or by compressed air or other gases, whether stored in the device in pressurised containers or produced in the device by mechanical means.

A firearm is still a firearm when it is inoperable, either temporarily or permanently.

Firearms include shotguns, rifles, homemade weapons, handguns and other devices that fit the above definition.

Handguns vs Longarms

The legislation differentiates between a handgun and a longarm.

A handgun is a firearm that is:

  • Reasonably capable of being carried or concealed about the person; or
  • Is reasonably capable of being raised and fired by one hand; or
  • Does not exceed 65 cm in length parallel to the barrel.

A longarm is any firearm that is not a handgun.

Prohibited Persons

A person who is the respondent in an Intervention Order may be made a Prohibited Person. When this occurs, the Prohibited Person must not possess a firearm for five years after the date that the Intervention Order expires.

A person who has been made a Prohibited Person can apply to the court to have this order revoked. This will occur only if they can satisfy the court that their possession of a firearm would not put anyone at risk.

Possession of Unregistered Firearms

Under the Firearms Act, it is an offence to possess, carry or use an unregistered firearm. The maximum penalty that applies for this offence depends of the type of firearm involve and whether it is the person’s first, second or subsequent offence.

A person who possesses two or more unregistered firearms is guilty of possessing a traffickable quantity of unregistered firearms. This offence is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.

Possession of Firearm without a licence

It is an offence to possess, carry or use a handgun or a longarm without a licence. The maximum penalty for this offence depends on the type of firearm involved.

Possession of firearms by Prohibited Person

It is a serious offence for a Prohibited person to possess, use or carry a firearm, a silencer, or any other prescribed item. The maximum penalty for this offence depends on the item possessed, used or carried.

Carry or Use Firearm in Certain Places

It is an offence to possess, carry or use a firearm in a town, populous place or in any place open to and used by the public for the passage of vehicles. However, police officers, prison officers and security guards may possess firearms in these locations when acting in the course of their duties.

Safe Keeping of Firearms and Ammunition

It is an offence to fail to carry and use a firearm in a safe and secure way. This offence can result in a fine of up to 240 penalty units or a term of imprisonment of up to four years, depending on the type of firearm involved.

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

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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