Unlicensed Own Category A or B Longarm
What is the legal definition of Unlicensed Own Category A or B Longarm?A person must not own a category A or B longarm unless that person is authorised by a licence under this Act to possess the firearm.
Examples of Unlicensed Own Category A or B Longarm
- Your father passes away and leaves you his old firearms in his Will. Instead of handing them into the police, or obtaining a licence to possess the firearms, you keep them for a few years and go out hunting on the weekends.
Elements of the offenceThe prosecution must prove the following beyond reasonable doubt:
- The accused owned a category A or B longarm; and
According to section 3 of the Firearms Act 1996, a Category A longarm means any of the following—
- an airgun;
- a rimfire rifle (other than a semi-automatic rimfire rifle);
- a shotgun (other than a pump action or semi-automatic shotgun);
- any combination of a shotgun and rimfire rifle;
- a muzzle loading firearm;
- a centre fire rifle (other than an automatic or a semi-automatic centre fire rifle);
- any combination of a shotgun and centre fire rifle;
- a black powder, ball firing cannon;
- The accused did not have a licence authorising possession of the firearm.
LegislationThe legislation for this offence can be found on section 135(1) of the Firearms Act 1996.
Questions in cases like this
- Did you own a firearm?
- Was it a category A or B longarm?
- Were you authorised to possess the firearm?
The offence of Unlicensed Own Category A or B Longarm (s135(1) of the Firearms Act 1996) has a maximum penalty of a fine of 60 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment.
Sentencing in the Magistrates’ CourtsThere were 65 cases (75 charges) of Unlicensed Own Category A or B Longarm that were heard in the Victorian Magistrates’ Courts from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016. These cases resulted in the following sentences:
- Fine – 50.7%
- Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 20.0%
- Community Correction Order – 18.7%
- Imprisonment – 8.0%
- Partially Suspended Sentence – 1.3%
- Wholly Suspended Sentence – 1.3%
Please note that suspended sentences were abolished in Victoria for all offences committed on or after 1 September 2014.2
 Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Firearms Act 1996 (Vic) : s 135(1) – unlicensed own category A or B longarm.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/96_66_135_1.html (accessed January 19, 2019).
 Sentencing Advisory Council. “Suspended Sentence.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/about-sentencing/sentencing-options-for-adults/suspended-sentence (accessed January 19, 2019).