Firearm and weapon offences are considered very serious in NSW. Most firearm offences carry hefty gaol terms, particularly firearms that are unregistered, or are loaded and carried in public. The Firearms Act 1996 governs how people possess, store, buy, use, manufacture and supply firearms, including ammunition, after former Prime Minister John Howard overhauled the gun laws following the Port Arthur massacre.

Imitation firearms are also seriously considered by police due to their physical appearance – permits are required for those wishing to possess or use them.

A firearm is defined as “a gun or other weapon, that was/is capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive”, including blank firearms and air guns. Imitation or replica firearms that are not produced and identified as a children’s toy, are treated as seriously as real firearms.

If the person who has possessed the firearm did not know or could not reasonably be expected to have known that the firearm was unregistered and was not the owner at the time of the offence, they may have a defence available to them.

Importing firearms and manufacturing firearms also carry maximum gaol terms of 10 years.