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New Laws To Help Police Take Illegal Guns Off Our Streets

18 August 2015

Outlaw motorcycle gangs and organised crime are the targets of new laws introduced into Parliament today to help police tackle the firearms black market and remove illegal guns from the community.

Minister for Police Wade Noonan said the amendments to the Firearms Amendment (Trafficking and Other Measures) Bill 2015 would:

  • lower the trafficable quantity of unregistered firearms from 10 to three over a 12-month period
  • reverse the onus under which a person is taken to be in possession of a firearm found on a premises or in a vehicle
  • create a new offence for the unlawful manufacture of firearms
  • introduce an offence of theft of a firearm in the Crimes Act 1958 and lift the maximum penalty to 15 years’ jail.

Under the reforms, anyone caught possessing three or more unregistered firearms over a 12-month period can be prosecuted for trafficking.

The new laws will also help Victoria Police deal with firearms held by serious and organised crime groups, such as bikies, where a weapon is found with gang members but they deny any knowledge of the weapon or claim that it is not theirs. The laws will place the onus on gang members to show the firearm is not in their possession.

The “manufacture of firearms’’ is a new offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ jail and recognises it as a serious crime that leads to unregistered guns circulating in the community.

The new “theft of a firearm’’ offence carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ jail to reflect the gravity of the act, as guns that are stolen are usually used in serious crime. This is up from the current maximum of ten years’ jail.

This law will also help police in regional Victoria crack down on gun thefts from registered owners on farms and other rural properties.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Wade Noonan

Illegal guns are a threat to community safety. These new laws send a clear message that Victoria is cracking down on the illegal firearm market and organised crime.’’

“This government is serious about helping police tackle the unlawful circulation of firearms within Victoria.’’

We have worked closely with Victoria Police to close gaps in the state’s gun laws and give police more powers to prosecute gun crimes.’’

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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