Firearms & Weapons
Possessing Weapons in Queensland
There are a number of weapons offences contained in the Weapons Act 1990 and Explosives Act. These Acts were imposed to ensure strict control on the possession of weapons and mandate the safe and secure storage and carriage of weapons in the State.
In Queensland, it is an offence to have possession of a weapon without authorisation and you must purchase and dispose of your firearm from a licenced dealer, police officer or a lawful authority.
Aside from possession, there are a number of other weapons offences including possessing unregistered weapons, possessing ammunition, possessing a knife in a public place or school, going armed to cause fear, modifying or altering weapons or unlawful supply or trafficking in weapons.
Charges involving the unlawful possession of ammunition or fireworks are set out in the Explosives Act 1999.
Types Of Weapons
The Weapons Categories Regulation 1997 defines the different categories of weapons. There are eight key categories (Category A, B, C, D, E, H, M, R) as well as a list of prescribed restricted items. The category weapons include all of the various types of guns, knives, knuckle dusters, body armour, crossbows, air pistols, silencers, antipersonnel gases, electric antipersonnel advices (for example, stun guns, stun batons) and anything designed to disguise anything defined as a weapon. Restricted items include handcuffs, nunchaku, kung-fu sticks, billy clubs, studded gloves, laser pointers and telescopic batons.
The Act further defines the difference between permanently inoperable and temporarily inoperable weapons as these are treated and classified differently.
Unlawful Possession Of A Weapon
To be convicted of unlawfully possessing a weapon, Police must prove that the accused:
- Possessed an object defined in the Act or Regulations as a weapon;
- You had no licence to possess that object.
There are also strict laws prohibiting weapons in public places. A person must not:
- Carry a replica weapon in public;
- Carry a weapon that is exposed to public view in a public place, including in a private vehicle;
- Carry a firearm that is loaded, or a weapon that is capable of being discharged, in a public place;
- Go armed in a public place in such a manner as would cause a person to feel fear; or
- Fire or discharge any firearm in, into, towards, over, or through a public place.
These offences carry penalties from fines to a maximum penalty of 4 years imprisonment.
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The meaning of ‘possession’ extends beyond holding the weapon in your hand. You can be charged with possessing a weapon if it is in your custody or control, or you are able to obtain custody or control of the weapon at will.
This means that you can be charged with possessing a weapon if it is not physically on your person. Having the weapon in your car, house or bag can be sufficient to constitute possession. You may also be charged with the separate offence of improperly storing a weapon if it is not secured in a facility or place specified by the Weapons Regulations 1996.
There is a very wide range of sentencing depending on the seriousness of the offence and the category of weapon. Penalties can range from fines to lengthy mandatory periods of imprisonment for serious offences such as supplying or trafficking in weapons. Penalties may also interfere with weapons licencing.
Our lawyers regularly appear in Court in relation to weapons offences. If you have been charged with a weapons offence, you will need a Criminal Lawyer skilled in this area who can advise you on your prospects of trial, defences available and sentencing range.