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Causing Danger with a Firearm or Spear Gun

Causing danger with a firearm or spear gun is an offence under section 93G of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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

  1. You possessed a loaded firearm or loaded spear gun, and
  2. You possessed it in a public place or in any other place so as to endanger the life of any other person, or you fired the firearm or spear gun in or near a public place, or you carried or fired the firearm or spear gun in a manner likely to injure, or endanger the safety of yourself or any other person or property, or with disregard for the safety of yourself or any other person.

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

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 firearm is considered to be ‘loaded’ if there is ammunition:

  1. In its chamber or barrel, or
  2. In its magazine or other device capable of fitting ammunition to its chamber or barrel.

A spear gun is ‘loaded’ if a spear, or other instrument or thing similar to a spear, is fitted to it.

You are not guilty of the offence if you are able to satisfy the court, ‘on the balance of probabilities’,  that you had a reasonable excuse or lawful purpose for possessing the item.

Defences to the charge include:

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

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