Firearms and Intervention Orders

Firearms Licences and Intervention Orders

It is important to note that once a court makes a final Intervention Order in favour of an applicant, the respondent to that Order becomes a ‘prohibited person’ under the Firearms Act 1996 (Vic).

Here we discuss the consequences of the making of an Intervention Order (Family Violence Violence Intervention Order or Personal Safety Intervention Order), upon a respondent’s firearm licence.

Respondents to an Intervention Order becomes a ‘Prohibited Person’

A Respondent to a Final Family Violence Order becomes a ‘prohibited person’ under section 3 of the Firearms Act 1996 (Vic). Depending upon the conditions and notations of the Final Order, a Respondent’s firearm licence can be subject to suspension (Section 47A) or immediate cancellation (Section 46) under the Firearms Act 1996.

A respondent does not become a ‘prohibited person’ if an interim order is made against them.

Under both the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Victoria) and the Personal Safety Intervention Order Act 2010 (Victoria). The presiding Magistrate can include conditions on an Intervention Order that either suspend or cancel a respondent’s firearms licence.

It is important to note that even where an Intervention Order does not include conditions to suspend or cancel a respondent’s licence, the police may direct the respondent to the Order to immediately surrender all their firearm(s) to the police officer (Section 158 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 and Section 115 of the Personal Safety Intervention Order Act 2010

A failure to do so creates a criminal offence.

Where a Final Order expressly states that a respondent’s firearm(s) licence is to be cancelled, the respondent’s ability to apply to have their licence re-instated is severely curtailed.

Only where the court does not include conditions affecting a respondent’s use of firearm(s) may that person apply under the Firearms Act 1966 to be declared a non-prohibited person.

In summary:

  • An Interim Order granted by the court with any terms does not create the classification of the respondent being a ‘prohibited person’
  • As a result of the Interim Order being granted, the police may direct the respondent to surrender their firearms, pending the determination of both the Intervention Order proceedings. The making of a Family Violence Safety Notice can have the same effect.
  • Where the Court does make a final order that directly interferes with a respondent’s firearm licence, then the Chief Commissioner must immediately cancel their firearms licence, and the respondent has no right of appeal or review from this cancellation.
  • Where a final order is made, but that final order does not include conditions that affect that person’s firearm’s licence, then the respondent is a prohibited person who may, under the Firearms Act 1996, apply to court to become a non-prohibited person as a means of having their firearms licence restored.
  • Intervention Order proceedings, whether commenced under the Personal Safety or Family Violence Intervention Order Acts, can have an immediate impact upon a respondent’s firearm licence.