Possessing Certain Types of Handguns

– section 7A of the Firearms Act 1996
Hands Holding Gun
This charge is laid where a person has a handgun in their possession without the proper licence. It is important to speak to a lawyer straight away if you are charged with this offence.
Examples of Possessing Certain Types of Handguns
  • You are the holder of a handgun target shooting licence. You decide to go shooting and you take your father’s gun, which is a semi-automatic handgun with a barrel length of less than 120mm.
Questions in cases like this
  • Are you a holder of a handgun target shooting licence?
  • Did you possess, carry or use a prohibited handgun?
  • Did you have approval from the Chief Commissioner?
What are some of the possible defences to Possessing Certain Types of Handguns?

A defence to this may arise where an accused had the weapon for the purposes of self-defence. Other defences include lack of intention to possess the firearm.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

Magistrates' CourtThe maximum penalty for this charge is a fine of 240 penalty units or 4 years imprisonment.

As this is a summary offence this will be heard by the Magistrates’ Court. You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged.

What is the legal definition of Possessing Certain Types of Handguns?
  1. A person who is the holder of a handgun target shooting licence must not possess, carry or use—
    1. unless authorised by the Chief Commissioner under subsection (2), any handgun that has a barrel length of—
      1. in the case of a semi-automatic handgun, less than 120 mm; or
      2. in the case of a revolver or single shot handgun, less than 100 mm; or
    2. unless authorised by the Chief Commissioner under subsection (4) any handgun that has a calibre of more than •45 inch; or
    3. unless authorised by the Chief Commissioner under subsection (4), any handgun that has a calibre of more than •38 inch but not more than •45 inch; or
    4. a handgun that has a magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.
Legislation

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 7A of Firearms Act 1996.

Elements of the offence

The prosecution must prove the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused held a handgun target shooting licence
    A ‘handgun target shooting licence’ means a handgun licence issued under section 15(1)(b) for target shooting.1 This element will probably not be controversial.
  2. The accused possessed, carried or used a certain type of handgun
    This element is broad and covers a wide range of conduct. Possession means custody or control2 – for instance, if the handgun is found in the accused’s backpack, this will probably amount to possession.
“Can they prove that you possessed, carried or used a handgun without approval?”
  1. The accused was not authorised to do so by the Chief Commissioner

Upon application by a person who is the holder of, or an applicant for, a handgun target shooting licence, the Chief Commissioner may authorise the applicant to possess, carry or use a general category handgun that has a barrel length—

  1. in the case of a semi-automatic handgun, of less than 120 mm; or
  2. in the case of a revolver or single shot handgun, of less than 100 mm.3

Upon application by a person who is the holder of or an applicant for a handgun target shooting licence, the Chief Commissioner may authorise the applicant to possess, carry or use a general category handgun—

  1. that has a calibre of more than •45 inch; or
  2. that has a calibre of more than •38 inch but not more than •45 inch.4

Call Doogue + George

Other important resources
Case studies related to Possessing Certain Types of Handguns

 



[1] Section 3 of the Firearms Act 1996.
[2] http://www.judicialcollege.vic.edu.au/eManuals/CCB/19355.htm
[3] Section 11A(2) of the Firearms Act 1996.
[4] Section 11A(4) of the Firearms Act 1996.