In New South Wales, there is a strict approach to the use, possession, manufacture, purchase and supply of firearms. There is separate legislation adopting this strict approach. The purpose of the Act is to reinforce the fact that possession and use of firearms is a privilege and is subject to the need to ensure public safety. Therefore, strict controls on the possession and use of firearms will apply. For a person to possess a firearm, the person will require license and any unlawful possession will be dealt with under the legislation.
There are further firearms offences under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW):
- Discharge firearm with intent;
- Use or possess weapon to resist arrest; and
- Causing danger with firearm.
Matters considered by the Court
Essentially, the Courts recognise that the possession of firearms in unlawful circumstances is dangerous and must be deterred. Persons who have been charged with a firearm offence, whether it was merely possession or otherwise, cannot be considered to be able to minimise the danger to public safety. The Court will look at the objective seriousness of the offence as opposed to whether the offence was connected with another criminal activity. This may mean, though, that possessing a firearm in the course of another criminal activity like possession of illegal drugs will increase the objective seriousness of the offence.
The Courts will not usually mitigate the sentence if the defendant was in possession of a firearm, but was not using it in the course of another criminal offence. The possession of the illegal firearm, in and of itself, constitutes an offence in its own right.
The maximum penalty is fourteen (14) years imprisonment for unauthorised possession or use of prohibited firearms or pistols. This demonstrates clearly that Parliament does not take such offences lightly. The application of the law by the Courts also demonstrates that the Courts take these matters very seriously.
Cumulative sentences may also be imposed where the defendant has been charged with more than one firearm offence.
If you are a suspect for or have been charged with a firearm offence, then you should obtain immediate legal advice from a firearms offence lawyer.
Our Criminal Lawyers are experts in firearm offences and can provide you with quality advice and legal representation in any Sydney Court, if required. Book your first free consultation today. Your first appointment will usually be with a Criminal Lawyer in our Sydney office or at one of our branch offices.
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