A firearms prohibition order is a legal order which can be made by the Police Commissioner to restrict a person’s ability to possess and use firearms and firearm parts. If a firearms prohibition order is made against a person, it becomes an offence for that person to acquire, possess or use a firearm, firearm parts or ammunition. If a person is found to have breached a firearm prohibition order by acquiring, possessing or using a firearm or firearm parts or ammunition, they can face up to 14 years in prison. If a person is found to have acquired, possessed or used ammunition alone, the person can face up to 5 years in prison.
If a person is subject to a firearms prohibition order, the police have broad powers to detain the person, enter any premises occupied by or under the control or management of the person or stop and detain any vehicle, vessel or aircraft occupied by or under the control or management of such a person. The police do not require a search warrant to carry out a search where a firearms prohibition order has been served. These are very broad powers and generally give the police the power to enter your home or place of residence or stop you wherever you may be to determine whether you have committed an offence by breaching the firearms prohibition order. This could mean entering your house for long periods of time and searching the property.
In 2018 the NSW police spent hours searching Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim’s property in Dover Heights under a firearms prohibition order.
Normally the police cannot simply enter a person’s home and conduct a search or search a person or their vehicle without either:
The police do not have the power or right to enter your home or stop, detain and search you simply because they are the police and they want to. If you do not give the police consent, they do not have a warrant and there is no reasonable suspicion under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act, any subsequent search may be deemed unlawful if challenged in court and, generally, any evidence found on a person cannot be used against the person. This will depend on the facts of the particular matter.
What is the law in regards to firearms prohibition orders?
The law under which firearm prohibition orders are administered in New South Wales is the Firearms Act 1966. Under Part 7 of the Act, it is also an offence for a person who is subject to a firearms prohibition order to supply a firearm or any firearm part or ammunition to another person knowing the other person is also subject to a firearms prohibition order. It is a defence if a person is found to be residing at premises where firearms or firearms parts or ammunition are kept and the person did not know or could not reasonably have known that there were firearms or firearms parts or ammunition at the premises. It is also a defence to an alleged breach of a firearms prohibition order if the person can prove they took reasonable steps to prevent the firearm, firearm part or ammunition from being on the property.
Restrictions under a firearms prohibition order
A person who is the subject of a firearms prohibition order cannot, without reasonable excuse, attend:
- The premises specified in a firearms dealer’s licence
- A shooting range
- A firearms club or
- Any other premises of a kind prescribed by the regulations
What should I do if I am served with a firearms prohibition order or charged with breaching a firearms prohibition order?
If you have been served with a firearms prohibition order or charged with breaching a firearms prohibition order, you should get in contact with a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.
If you have been served with a firearms prohibition order, you can make an application to the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for a review of the order.
If you have been charged with breaching a firearms prohibition order, this is a criminal charge that requires expert criminal defence. If you are found guilty of breaching a firearms prohibition order, you will face up to 14 years in prison.
If you have been served with a firearms prohibition order, it is important to speak with a criminal defence lawyer who can advise you on your legal position. Being the subject of a firearms prohibition order gives the police wide powers to search you and your property at any time. If you are found to have breached a firearms prohibition order, you may be sent to prison.
For more information on firearm offences or firearms prohibition orders call George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers. We are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and can advise and defend you on your legal matter. We can be contacted on (02) 9261 8640 or 0412 423 569.