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Sunday, 8 August 2010

Legislation Watch: Firearms and Other Amendments Act 2010

Edit: The Act received Assent on 7/9/10. If not proclaimed earlier it will come into effect on 1/7/11.




As the law currently stands if it looks like a gun, it is a gun. This will change when the Firearms and Other Amendments Act 2010 comes in.


The bill is here. The Explanatory Memorandum can be found here and the Statement of Compatibility is here. In the Second Reading speech Justin Madden said,

The change in the regulation of imitations firearms results from a national agreement between all of the states and the commonwealth. Ultimately, all jurisdictions will regulate imitation firearms, based on the definition that this bill inserts into the Control of Weapons Act 1990.


The Control of Weapons Act will be amended to include the following definition of imitation firearm:

Imitation firearm is defined as a device, the appearance of which could reasonably be mistaken for that of an operable firearm, but which is not designed or adapted to discharge shot or a bullet or other missile by the expansion of gases produced in the device by the ignition of strongly combustible materials or by compressed air or other gases, whether stored in the device in pressurised containers or produced in the device by mechanical means and is not capable of being made to do so.


The new definition of firearm will be the same in the Control of Weapons Act and Firearms Act, and will read:

firearm means any device, whether or not assembled or in parts and whether or not operable or complete or temporarily or permanently inoperable or incomplete-

(a) which is designed or adapted to discharge shot or a bullet or othermissile by the expansion of gases produced in the device by the ignition of strongly combustible materials or by compressed air or other gases, whether stored in the device in pressurised containers or produced in the device by mechanical means; and

(b) whether or not operable or complete or temporarily or permanently inoperable or incomplete.


The phrase which has the appearance of such a device will be removed.

An imitation firearm will become a prohibited weapon at s 5 of the Control of Weapons Act. The maximum penalty for possession or dealing with a prohibited weapon is 480 penalty units or 4 years imprisonment.

Once passed the amendments will come into effect on 1 July 2011, unless enacted earlier.

3 comments:

The Hangman said...

For many years, a person found in possession of a toy cap-guns or hand-gun shaped cigarette lighters (if they were realistic enough) were charged with the offence of possessing a hand-gun that was not registered. The absurdity was that such an item (like a cap-gun) could not be registered. Nonetheless, given the defintion in the Act and the applicable case authorities many people have been convicted of possession. The proposed amendments are welcome, however, it appears that there remains the potential for a person to be convicted of posessing an imitation firearm when they are in possession of a lighter, cap-gun or other like item. In my opinion, mere possession of such item should not be enough, there shouldbe some context to the posession required (such as use, concealment, found with other illegal items such as drugs of dependence etc). I realise that might be very hard to specify in legislation, but the current position creates absurd outcomes for people.

Ginger said...

A couple of years ago a Star Wars fanboy was done for carrying his laser gun sticking out of his backpack. linkto=www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/star-wars-fans-shocked-by-arrest/story-e6frf7kx-1111113610333.
That is sad on so many levels.

Merl said...

If possession of such items is illegal then why is it still legal to make, distribute and sell them? This prohibition is nonsense. I agree that the law should be amended to include a context for possession or illegal purpose.