Common Firearms issues

The most common issue that comes up in relation to firearms ownership and licencing is being deemed prohibited person. Usually, this follows the final hearing of a Family Violence Intervention order or Personal Safety Intervention order matter. However, it is not uncommon for the issue to come up when a person applies to Victoria Police for a licence. This is what is commonly called a s33A notice from Victoria Police.

This page deals mainly with Prohibited Persons. If you’re interested in reading about the following topics they are located on individual pages:

Prohibition orders

33A Notice – licence refusal

What is a Prohibited person?

Some people are deeemed not permitted to carry, own or possess firearms and other prohibited weapons. Prohibited persons include:

  • people who are currently serving a prison term for:
    • an indictable offence
    • assault, or
    • a drugs or weapons offence.
  • someone who has served a prison term for one of the offences above in Victoria or interstate of:
    • 5 years or more within the last 15 years, or
    • less than 5 years within the last 5 years.
  • Anyone who is serving (or has served) a prison term for conspiring to commit an offence within the last 10 years. This includes corresponding interstate conspiracy offences. (Note: if the prison sentence has already been served, the time is to be calculated from the end of their prison term.)
  • Any person who is subject to:
    • a family violence or personal safety intervention (final) order
    • a final equivalent interstate order
    • a final equivalent order from New Zealand (registered somewhere in Australia and so a recognised domestic violence order).
  • This includes people who are currently subject to a stalking or family violence order or who have been within the last 5 years.

Note this applies whether or not the court included a condition in the order to cancel or revoke a weapons or firearms licence.

  • anyone serving a community corrections order (CCO) or an old community based order (CBO) that included a condition for their supervision by a community corrections officer. Anyone who was serving such an order within the last 5 years.
  • anyone who is currently (or has been under this supervision within the last 5 years) under a supervision order under s. 26 or s. 38ZH(5)(b) of the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997.
  • anyone found guilty of an offence which could have imposed a jail term under the Firearms Act (or similar interstate Act) within the last 12 months, or any other offence that involved a firearm which could have involved a jail term.
  • anyone is subject to a control order, or who has been made a ‘declared individual’ under the Criminal Organisations Control Act 2012 (Vic) (this relates to people who have had a control order made by the Supreme Court, in an attempt to prevent the activities of organisations (such as bikie gangs) involved in serious criminal activities)
  • anyone found guilty of any other indictable offence where not more than 12 months has passed since the person was found guilty by a court
  • a person who is subject to a firearm prohibition order (under some circumstances listed in s. 112U)
  • anyone who is a prescribed class of persons.
  • See ss. 3, 112U—Firearms Act 1996 (Vic)

Apply to be deemed a non-prohibited person

If a person is deemed to be a prohibited person an application can be made by them to the Magistrates’ Court to be allowed to hold a firearms licence.

What does an application involve?

An application is made on your behalf to the magistrates Court. Police are usually involved and we may contact them prior to your hearing to discuss the matter and seek to understand their views. This is important as their views are a consideration the Court will take into account before coming to a decision as detailed below.

We then gather information from you and provide you with guides to obtain documents such as character references.

We may write a what’s called and affidavit which will be provided to Victoria Police and the Court. The affidavit sets out our argument.

During the hearing the affidavit may form the basis of evidence given by you in the witness box.

What does the Court consider?

  1. Whether or not firearms were involved in the circumstances which led to the making of the Intervention Order;
  2. Whether you have any prior convictions;
  3. Whether you have a “genuine and not unhealthy interest in firearms”
  4. Whether you have substantial legitimate reasons for wanting to hold a firearm licence.
  5. The views of Victoria Police.

Important information -Intervention orders

If an intervention order is in place the affected family member (AFM) who is protected under an intervention order must be given 28 days notice of the hearing. The AFM will be invited to attend the hearing. The AFM does not have to attend court if they do not want to.

If the AFM attends court and gives evidence at the request of Police – we can seek to cross examine them about the evidence they give.

A person who was a respondent in a final family violence intervention order may apply to be classified as a non-prohibited person only if the court did not make this a condition of their family violence intervention order. In these cases the only way to get around the prohibition is to appeal the family violence order.

Book a free 30 min consultation

Need to discuss a case? Get in touch for a free and confidential chat.