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Aggravated Possession of an Unregistered Firearm in a Public Place

Aggravated Possession of an Unregistered Firearm in a Public Place is an offence under section 93i(2) of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You possessed an unregistered firearm
  2. You possessed the firearm in a public place
  3. You were not authorised by the Firearms Act 1996 to possess the firearm, and
  4. Circumstances of aggravation were present.

A ‘firearm’ is defined as:

A gun, or other weapon, that is or was, capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive, and includes a blank fire firearm, or an air gun, but does not include a paintball marker.

The definition includes an ‘imitation firearm’ which is an object that, regardless of its colour, weight or composition, or the presence or absence of any moveable parts, substantially duplicates a firearm in appearance, but is not a firearm.

The definition does not include an object produced and identified as a children’s toy.

A ‘public place’ includes any place that is publicly owned as well as privately owned property that is open to members of the public, such as:

  1. Restaurants, pubs and clubs
  2. Shopping centres and shops, and
  3. Sporting venues and cinemas

‘Circumstances of aggravation’ are present where you possessed:

  1. More than one unregistered firearm
  2. An unregistered pistol, or
  3. An unregistered prohibited firearm

A ‘pistol’ is  a firearm that:

  1. is reasonably capable of being raised and fired by one hand, and
  2. does not exceed the dimensions prescribed by the regulations

‘Prohibited firearms’ include:

  1. Machine guns, sub-machine guns and other automatic weapons that are capable of shooting bullets in rapid succession
  2. Self-loading shotguns, rim-fire and centre fire rifles
  3. Firearms capable of discharging liquid, powder, gas, chemicals, flares or dye
  4. Canons and powerheads, and
  5. Firearms disguised as other items, such as walking sticks

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Self Defence
  2. Duress, and
  3. Necessity.

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