Possession of 3 or more prohibited firearms or pistols

What is the offence of Possession of 3 or more prohibited firearms or pistols?

The offence of Possession of 3 or more prohibited firearms or pistols is found at section 51D of the Firearms Act 1996.

Possession of 3 or more prohibited firearms or pistols offences are often successfully defended where the firearms are not found in the immediate custody of a person as it is difficult for police to prove a person knew a firearm was in an area or vehicle used by more than one person. It may also be possible to dispute possession of a weapon where DNA or fingerprints are in dispute or located elsewhere than on the firearm itself.

If you are charged with the offence of Possession of 3 or more prohibited firearms or pistols, your options will normally be to plead guilty or not guilty.

Pleading not guilty

You will be found not guilty of the offence of Possession of 3 or more prohibited firearms or pistols if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. You:
    1. Possessed more than 3 firearms and the firearms are not registered, and you are not authorised by a licence or permit to possess the firearms; or
    2. Possessed more than 3 firearms any one of which is a pistol or prohibited firearm and the firearms are not registered and you are not authorised by a licence or permit to possess the firearms.

A pistol is a firearm reasonably capable of being raised and fired by one hand and which does not exceed any dimension prescribed by the regulations.

Click here for a list of prohibited firearms.

Possession of a firearm includes any case in which a person knowingly has custody of the firearm, or has the firearm in the custody of another person, or has the firearm in or on any premises, place, vehicle, vessel or aircraft, whether or not belonging to or occupied by the person.

Where the police allege you had exclusive possession of a pistol but the pistol is found in a communal place, police must negate possession on the part of any other person, e.g. other occupants of the house which you live or in a car to which multiple people had access.

If the police are able to prove the above elements beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:

Contact our offices at Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern to organise a time for one of our criminal lawyers to advise you of your prospects of successfully defending the charge of Possession of 3 or more prohibited firearms or pistols.

Pleading guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence (and the police are able to prove so), it is best to plead guilty as you will normally receive a discount on sentence and it will demonstrate remorse and contrition. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to less serious facts or even a less serious charge.

Possession of 3 or more prohibited firearms or pistols is a serious criminal offence and sentences will often reflect the danger it has been held that firearms pose to the community. Nonetheless, the type of firearm e.g. a replica pistol compared to a Glock, and circumstances in which a person had possession of the weapon e.g. as a consequence of a family member in contrast to for criminal activity, will have a bearing on the sentence. It is possible to avoid full time imprisonment for a charge of this nature. In sentencing an offender the court will take into account the likelihood that the firearm may fall into the hands of criminals or be used in connection with serious criminal activity, whether the weapon was loaded or concealed, and whether it had any legitimate use in determining the appropriate sentence.

Possession of 3 or more prohibited firearms or pistols carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and 10 years imprisonment in the District Court where the weapon is a regular firearm, and a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment in the District Court where the weapon is a pistol or prohibited firearm. However, these penalties are typically reserved for the worst offenders. Possess prohibited firearm is an extremely serious offence and carries a standard non parole period. If you are charged with this offence you should contact our office immediately.

Penalties that a court can impose in NSW are:

Why choose AC Law Group?

Our solicitors are experts at obtaining the best outcome possible for firearms offences. For these offences, a good lawyer can be the difference between freedom or gaol. To read more about AC Law Group, click here.

To discuss your firearms charge, call AC Law Group at our Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern offices or make a website inquiry today.

Case Study

One of our criminal lawyers represented a young man charged with possessing 8 prohibited firearms. He was stopped by police and the firearms were found in his car. Evidence was called to establish that our client had no criminal associations or criminal record. It was established that he was a keen hunter and firearm enthusiast who also had legally obtained weapons. The court accepted our clients actions whilst stupid and criminal, were not typical of similar cases where there is a risk the firearms will be used for illegal activity. The court accepted the weapons formed part of a collection exclusively used for otherwise legal hunting. The court imposed and intensive correction order and did not send our client to gaol.

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