Unlicensed Own Category C or D Longarm or Handgun

Unlicensed Own Category C or D Longarm or Handgun

In Victoria, Unlicensed Own Category C or D Longarm or Handgun is found in section 135(2) of the Firearms Act 1996. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who was found to be in possession of a category C or D longarm or handgun without the required licence.

Have you been accused of Unlicensed Own Category C or D Longarm or Handgun? Legal advice can be the difference between you telling police things which can harm your defence or having charges withdrawn or an acquittal.

Rifles on a black background
Police Interview
From our experience, it is worthwhile for you to get legal advice prior to being interviewed by police for the offence of owning a category C or D longarm or handgun without the required licence. You should contact our office to arrange an appointment with a lawyer.

Often the police interview is the last stage of an investigation and police have already determined that you will be charged with this criminal offence even though they will make it seem this is your opportunity to speak. Anything that is said by you in the interview is recorded and can be used as evidence against you in support of the offence. It is also important to remember that anything you tell police “off the record” will also appear in evidence.

It is important to have legal advice ahead of this process to protect your rights.

Pleading Not Guilty
A well prepared contested hearing is the key to success when pleading not guilty to the offence of owning a category C or D longarm or handgun without the required licence.

Our lawyers conduct their own investigative work when analyzing the issues that are presented in the evidence relied upon by police. We have conducted many contested hearings for persons who elect to plead not guilty to this offence.

Pleading Guilty
Firearms offences are treated very seriously by the courts. It is important for the court to be made aware of your personal circumstances and the circumstances which surrounded the offending when you plead guilty to owning a category C or D longarm or handgun without the required licence.

We regularly appear in pleas of guilty for people charged with this offence and can assist you in obtaining and presenting the most relevant material to the court to achieve a positive sentencing outcome.
As a summary offence, any summons for this charge will normally be handled by the Magistrates’ Court.
 
What is the legal definition of Unlicensed Own Category C or D Longarm or Handgun?
  1. A person must not own a category C or D longarm or a general category handgun unless that person is authorised by a licence under this Act to possess the firearm.
Penalty: 120 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment.

Examples of Owning a Category C or D Longarm or Handgun
  • Having a category C or D longarm or category in your possession or control without a license.
Elements of the offence
The prosecution must prove:

  • The accused possessed a category C or D longarm or handgun; and
  • The accused did not have a licence authorising possession of the firearm.
Legislation
The legislation for this offence can be found on section 135(2) of the Firearms Act 1996.
 
Defences that can be run in response to this charge include necessity, lack of intent, sudden or extraordinary emergency, incorrect factual matrix and the concept of beyond reasonable doubt.

Questions in cases like this
  • What intent can be identified from the circumstances surrounding the matter?
  • Was there an emergency situation?
  • Were you the one in possession or control?

The offence of Unlicensed Own Category C or D Longarm or Handgun (s135(2) of the Firearms Act 1996) carries a maximum penalty of a fine of 120 penalty units (around $19, 340) or 2 years imprisonment.

Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts
From 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016, there were 65 cases (75 charges) of Unlicensed Own Category A or B Longarm that were heard in the Victorian Magistrates’ Courts. They resulted in the following penalties:

  • Imprisonment – 29.1%
  • Community Correction Order – 25.5%
  • Fine – 23.6%
  • Wholly Suspended Sentence – 9.1%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 7.3%
  • Other – 3.6%
  • Community-Based Order – 1.8%
Of the cases that led to prison terms, 6.3% received the longest term imposed: somewhere between 18 and 24 months. Majority were sentenced to periods that were below 3 months (37.5%).

For the fines, the highest amount imposed fell under the “$500 < $1,000” and “$2,000 < $3,000” categories, at 33.3% respectively of the charges that led to fines (for aggregate). These are also the same categories where majority of the charges that led to fines fell under. For non-aggregate fines, the highest amount imposed was somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 (5.6%).1

Please note that suspended sentences were abolished in Victoria for all offences committed on or after 1 September 2014.2


[1] Sentencing Advisory Council. “SAC Statistics – Firearms Act 1996 (Vic) : s 135(2) – unlicensed own category C or D longarm or handgun.” SentencingCouncil.vic.gov.au. https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/96_66_135_2.html (accessed January 14, 2019).
[2] 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 14, 2019).