Section 7(1) of the Firearms Act 1988 (NSW) provides that a person must not use or possess a pistol or a prohibited firearm unless the person is authorised to do so by a license or permit.

The law clarifies that even where a permit is held, the weapon can only be used in accordance with the conditions of the permit, otherwise charges may be laid under s 7(2).

A person is also guilty of an offence under this section if that person contravenes any condition of their license.

What is a firearm?

  • Section 4 of the Firearms Act 1996 defines a firearm as a gun or a weapon capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive. This includes a blank firearm, air gun or replicas.
  • Section 4D clarifies that an ‘imitation firearm’ that substantially duplicates a firearm, but is not a firearm, applies to the act in the same way as a firearm. This does not include an object that is produced and identified as a children’s toy.
  • Schedule 1 of the Firearms Act 1996 defines a prohibited weapon as a machine gun, sub-machine gun and self-loading rifle, or pump-action shotgun.

What is possession?

Section 4 of the Firearms Act 1996 defines “possession”of a prohibited weapon as being where a person knowingly:

  1. has custody of the weapon, or
  2. has the weapon in the custody of another person, or
  3. has the weapon in or on any premises, place, vehicle, vessel or aircraft, whether or not belonging to or occupied by the person.

What is use?

Section 4 of the Firearms Act 1996 defines “use” as firing a firearm or holding it so as to cause a reasonable belief that it will be fired, whether or not it is capable of being fired.

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