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Ammunition – Possessing, Acquiring or Carrying

- section 8 of the Firearms Act 1996

Ammunition – Possessing, Acquiring or Carrying is used as a charge by Police when a person buys or sells ammunition as collectors’ items, but doesn’t have a licence to do so.

  • You sell ammunition to a ammunition collector without a seller’s licence

  • The ammunition belongs to someone else.
  • The ammunition was bought or sold by someone else.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • How do they prove the ammunition belongs to you?
  • How can they prove the ammunition was bought or sold by you?

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge
The maximum penalty for this offence is 60 penalty units ($9,327.60) or 12 months imprisonment.

As this is a summary offence meaning it will be heard by the Magistrates Court.

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
Possessing cartridge ammunition for the purpose of collections can lead to confiscation, fines, a loss of firearms licence, and potentially prison.

Sentencing outcomes in the Magistrates’ Court
In the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, 48 charges (46 cases) of Unlicenced Person Acquire, Dispose of, Possess or Carry Cartridge Ammunition for Collection Purposes were heard from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2019. Of these cases, majority resulted in a Community Correction Order (41.7%).

Other sentences imposed include:

  • Imprisonment (25%),
  • Fine (25%), and
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal (8.3%).
Of the prison terms imposed, majority were between 3 and 6 months (41.7% of the charges that led to non-aggregate prison terms, 16.7% for aggregate). The longest term enforced was between 18 and 24 months (8.3%, aggregate).

For charges that led to Community Correction Order (CCO), the majority were sentenced to a term between 12 and 18 months (55%, non-aggregate). The longest CCO term was more than 24 months (5%, non-aggregate).1

[1] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Firearms Act 1996 (Vic): s 8 – unlicenced person acquire, dispose of, possess or carry cartridge ammunition for collection purposes.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/96_66_8.html (accessed April 21, 2020).
The section that covers this offence is section 8 of the Firearms Act 1996.

What is the legal definition of Possessing, Acquiring or Carrying Ammunition?
The legal definition of Ammunition- Possessing, Acquiring, or Carrying is where someone possesses or sells cartridge ammunition for collections without the appropriate licence.

“Were you in possession of the ammunition?”