Do you face a weapons offence allegation in Queensland?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

Do you face a weapons offence allegation in Queensland?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

How this firm can help you achieve justice

How this firm can help you achieve justice

Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an award-winning lawyer who is independently recommended as being among the leading criminal defence lawyers in Queensland.
Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Queensland Court of Appeal, Royal Commissions and multiple other courts dealing with trials and other hearings, Andrew Anderson understands how to succeed in complex and difficult cases.
Andrew Anderson has worked as a Principal Crown Prosecutor in Queensland and barrister in private practice at 8 Petrie Terrace Chambers in Brisbane. His depth of courtroom advocacy experience ranges from simple cases right through to complex homicide trials and appeals.
Anderson Legal is a law firm that is dedicated to the best ideals of the legal profession. Seeking to exceed client expectations and fighting for justice is an everyday pursuit.

Learn more about weapons offences

1. Specific weapons offences in Queensland

In Queensland, charges relating to weapons offences are treated seriously, with some offences carrying mandatory minimum penalties. Over recent decades, weapons offences have been gradually hardened to deter people from unlawfully possessing firearms and other weapons.

Altering identification marks on weapons

Altering identification marks on weapons is made an offence under section 63 of the Weapons Act (Qld). The offence carries a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units or 4 years imprisonment.

In Queensland, a person must not, without reasonable excuse (1) deface or alter any identifying serial number or mark on a weapon; or, (2) possess a weapon the identifying serial number or mark of which has been defaced or altered; or, (3) acquire or sell a weapon the identifying serial number or mark of which has been defaced or altered. Doing so constitutes the offence of altering identification marks on weapons.

Going armed so as to cause fear

Going armed so as to cause fear is an offence in Queensland under section 69 of the Criminal Code (Qld). The offence of going armed so as to cause fear carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 2 years.

Any person who goes armed in public without lawful occasion in such a manner as to cause fear to any person is guilty of the offence of going armed so as to cause fear. The law allows people to be arrested without a warrant in relation to this offence. The Weapons Act (Qld) has been amended over time to broaden the range of offences relating to carrying weapons in public, providing a range of alternative offences to going armed so as to cause fear.

Improper storage of firearms

Under section 60 of the Weapons Act (Qld), a person who holds a weapons licence must ensure all weapons under their control are kept in secure storage facilities when they are not in physical possession of the weapon.

The registered owner of a firearm must ensure that secure storage facilities for the firearm are available at the place shown in the firearms register as the place where the firearm is generally kept. Depending on the circumstances of the contravention of the laws relating to the secure storage of weapons, a licensee may be exposed to a fine of up to 100 penalty units, or, in some cases, imprisonment for up to 2 years.

Possessing a knife in a public place

Possessing a knife in a public place or a school is made an offence under section 51 of the Weapons Act (Qld). A person must not physically possess a knife in a public place or a school, unless the person has a reasonable excuse.

While it is not a reasonable excuse to physically possess a knife in a public place or school for self-defence purposes, there are a number of reasons that will constitute a reasonable excuse. These include (1) to perform a lawful activity, duty or employment; or, (2) to participate in a lawful entertainment, recreation or sport; or, (3) for lawfully exhibiting the knife; or, (4) for use for a lawful purpose.

Unlawful possession of weapons

In Queensland, it is an offence to unlawfully possess a weapon. Under section 50 of the Weapons Act (Qld), there are a range of maximum and minimum penalties that can apply to an offence of unlawful possession of weapons.

Where a person commits an offence of unlawfully possessing weapons, significant mandatory minimum penalties apply if the person (1) unlawfully possesses a firearm and uses the firearm to commit an indictable offence; or, (2) unlawfully possesses a firearm for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of an indictable offence; or, (3) if the person unlawfully possesses a short firearm in a public place without a reasonable excuse.

2. Common issues with weapons offences

If you are facing an allegation relating to a weapons offence, getting informed about the common issues that arise with weapons offences might be crucial to avoiding injustice.

Below is a list of common issues that people confront when defending charges involving weapons offences in Queensland. While the information about each issue has been created to help people seeking to learn more about common issues relating to weapons offence charges, it cannot – and is not meant to – substitute legal consultation. To get tailored advice about an issue that may be raised in a specific case, contact Anderson Legal.

Categories of firearms in Queensland

The Weapons Categories Regulation (Qld) specifies the various categories of weapons. The categories are relevant to licence holders who may be permitted to possess a certain category of licence.

The Weapons Categories Regulation (Qld) sets out the weapons that form Category A weapons, Category B weapons, Category C weapons, Category D weapons, Category E weapons, Category H weapons and classes, Category M weapons, and Category R weapons. Weapons categories significantly affect the penalties that may apply to an offence of unlawful possession of a weapon or the unlawful supply of a weapon.

Impact of domestic violence orders

A domestic violence order, police protection notice or release conditions can all impact the ability of a person to lawfully possess weapons. This has immediate and real impacts on people who use weapons as part of their livelihood.

There are many people, such as police officers, who are exempt from the Weapons Act (Qld) due to their occupation. The issuing of a domestic violence order, police protection notice or release conditions changes those arrangements, altering the authority of such people to possess weapons. Also, such issues also impact the ‘fit and proper person’ test relating to the issue, renewal, suspension or revocation of a weapons licence in Queensland.

Options if a licence is refused, suspended or revoked

If a person has their weapons licence refused, suspended or revoked in Queensland, it is possible to apply for a review of the decision in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). QCAT can overturn an adverse decision.

Under the Weapons Act (Qld), for a person to lawfully possess a firearms or weapons licence, they must be found to be a ‘fit and proper person’ and also satisfy any other criteria necessary. Changes to work or employment, mental health issues, criminal convictions and domestic violence allegations can all impact the ability to hold a licence. An initial refusal, suspension or revocation of a licence may be challenged successfully by reviewing adverse decisions in QCAT.

Restrictions on using firearms

In Queensland, the Weapons Act (Qld) places a number of restrictions on licensed and unlicensed users of firearms. These include when and where people may discharge or use a firearm, including on private land.

The Weapons Act (Qld) creates an exception for unlicensed users of firearms to use a weapon at a shooting gallery, under its conditions of approval, even if they are not the holder of a licence for the category of weapon. It also places a number of restrictions on the use of firearms by licence holders, such as the need for consent of property owners to discharge weapons on private land and prohibitions on certain conduct in public places.

Weapons licensing in Queensland

The Weapons Licensing Unit of the Queensland Police Service has the primary responsibility for processing weapons licence applications in Queensland. Decisions relating to weapons licences are reviewable.

There are a number of bases for a person to seek a weapons licence in Queensland, which can include business needs or as part of a collection for military or historical purposes. It can take a significant time for new weapons licence applications to be considered in Queensland, which can impact on livelihoods and business operations. In cases where a weapons licence is refused, suspended or revoked, the decision may be reviewed and overturned.

3. Possible consequences if charged or convicted

For anybody charged or convicted of a weapons offence, there can be consequences beyond what occurs within the criminal justice system. For many people, the potentially far-reaching effects from a charge or conviction for weapons offences can come as a shock, which underscores why early advice from an experienced lawyer can be crucial to the outcomes that eventuate.

Adverse Publicity

For many people accused of a criminal offence, inaccurate or sensationalist reporting of the allegations is deeply troubling. Steps can be taken to mitigate the prejudice that can arise from adverse publicity to ensure a fair hearing.

While many journalists seek to adhere to high standards when reporting on criminal allegations, it can be important for anybody accused or convicted of a criminal offence to understand their legal options if their case is unfairly or improperly jeopardised by adverse publicity. Adverse media publicity can prejudice the fairness of a criminal trial, so it is important that people facing criminal allegations understand their rights when dealing with adverse publicity.

Character, Safety & Security Clearances

There are many occupations, jobs or roles that require character, safety and security clearances. A criminal history, and, in some instances, mere criminal allegations, can adversely affect assessments for character, safety and security clearances.

In Queensland, certain occupations are regulated by professional or trade bodies that can take disciplinary action following a criminal allegation or conviction arising. It is important to understand how a criminal law issue may affect other areas of life, such as employment prospects, recreational activities, insurance claims and other issues. This firm provides advice to its clients about the possible steps that can be taken to mitigate issues of this kind.

Character Tests – Citizenship / Visa Issues

The Australian Citizenship Act (Cth) and Migration Act (Cth) both contain character tests that can affect the eligibility for a person to become or remain a citizen or visa holder in Australia. Having a criminal history can be a decisive factor.

For citizens of another country who seek citizenship in Australia, a good character test can apply to the assessment of a citizenship application. Outstanding or finalised criminal charges (and even allegations falling short of criminal charges) can impact the assessment of the ‘good character’ test. The Migration Act (Cth) sets out the way a criminal history can lead to the refusal or cancellation of visas.

Employment Issues

Many people do not realise that employers can take action – such as suspension or dismissal – against an employee accused of a criminal offence. In some cases, such disciplinary action may be taken even if the conduct occurred outside of work.

Being accused of a criminal offence of itself is confronting enough for most people, however losing your career and livelihood even before the offence is proved can create additional burdens. Anderson Legal has the expertise to guide its clients through the employment law issues that can arise from criminal allegations, including what steps may be taken to ensure employment is not unnecessarily ended by an employer.

Recording of Convictions

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a discretion to not record a conviction, despite the person being found guilty or having pleaded guilty to an offence. The recording of a conviction can have significant consequences.

Section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a general discretion to record or not record a conviction. Courts are required to take account of all relevant circumstances, such as the nature of the offence, the offender’s character and age, as well as the impact the recording of a conviction will have on them. For some sentences, such as those involving imprisonment or a breach of court orders, a court may be required to record a conviction.

Sentencing for Weapons Offences

In Queensland, the penalties for weapons offences have been considerably strengthened. Certain weapons offences now carry mandatory minimum imprisonment, requiring offenders to spend a minimum time in actual custody.

Although the general sentencing principles under the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) applies to weapons offences, certain offences can carry mandatory minimum periods of actual custody. In addition, the offences of unlawfully supplying weapons and unlawfully trafficking in weapons are subject to the serious organised crime circumstance of aggravation, which can see even further minimum periods of actual custody imposed as part of a sentence.

Do you need personalised legal advice or representation about a weapons offence in Queensland?

If you are facing allegations involving crimes relating to firearms or other weapons, obtaining early and authoritative advice is essential to protecting your rights and legal interests. Andrew Anderson has demonstrated experience in successfully preparing and conducting trials, sentences and appeals before all courts in Queensland.

If you need to contact Anderson Legal, you can call the firm on (07) 3505 7070. Alternatively, you can complete our form and we will try to contact you.

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