Firearms and Intervention Orders

Firearms Licences and Intervention Orders

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

Here we discuss the other consequential impacts 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 become a ‘Prohibited Person’

A Respondent to an Interim or 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 will be subject to suspension (Section 47A) or immediate cancellation (Section 46) under the Firearms Act 1996.

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, that 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.

The making of an Interim Order, even where the Court does not interfere with the respondent’s firearm(s), will cause the police to suspend that person’s licence to use their firearm(s) under the Firearms Act 1966. That is because the making of an Intervention Order even on an interim basis will render a respondent a ‘prohibited person’ under the Firearms Act 1996.

Where a Final Order expresses 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, creates 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 is to the same effect.
  • Where the Court does make a final order that directly interferes with a respondent’s firearm license, then the Chief Commissioner must immediately cancel their firearms license, 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 license, then the respondent is a prohibited person who may under the Firearms Act 1996 apply to become a non-prohibited person as a means of having their firearms license restored.
  • Intervention Order proceedings, whether commenced under the Personal Safety or Family Violence Intervention Order Acts, will have an immediate impact upon a respondent’s firearm license.