Frequently Asked Questions - Suspension, Refusal & Revocation

Suspension

Refusal

Revocation

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Suspension

A suspension is a temporary holding for a licence or permit which prohibits the possession and use of firearms during the specified suspension period. A suspension is used when there is a mandatory requirement under the firearms and prohibited weapons legislation, or when there is a critical or urgent need, for reason of public safety, to prevent a person's access to firearms or prohibited weapons until the matter can be resolved.

What are the reasons for suspension?

Discretionary Suspension:

A firearms licence, firearms permit or prohibited weapon permit may be suspended for any reason for which the licence or permit may be revoked. Related Legislation:

Mandatory Suspension:

A firearms licence or prohibited weapon permit must be suspended if a person is charged with a domestic violence offence within the meaning of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 or there is reasonable cause to believe that the licensee has committed or has threatened to commit a domestic violence offence within the meaning of that Act. A firearms permit may be suspended for any reason a licence can be suspended. Related Legislation:

Automatic Suspension:

A firearms licence or prohibited weapon permit is automatically suspended if the licence or permit holder becomes subject to an Interim Apprehended Violence Order. A firearms permit may be suspended for any reason a licence can be suspended. Related Legislation:

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When does a suspension take effect?

A suspension takes effect when the Notice of Suspension is served.

In the case of an Interim Apprehended Violence Order, the suspension is automatic and remains in place until the order is confirmed or revoked.

A Suspension Notice can be served on the licence or permit holder by police or sent from the Firearms Registry and can be served either personally or by post. The grounds for suspension are stated on the Suspension Notice.

What is the effect of the suspension?

Once a licence or permit has been suspended the person must not possess or use firearms/prohibited weapons unless the term of the suspension has expired or the suspension has been lifted by the Firearms Registry.

Your firearms/prohibited weapons and firearms licence/permit must be surrendered to police.

Section 25(2) and section 30(7) of the Firearms Act 1996 authorises police to seize any firearms in possession of a person who has been served with a suspension notice and also authorises police to seize the licence or permit. Section 19(2) of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 authorises police to seize any prohibited weapons in possession of a person who has been served with a suspension notice.

In addition, section 25(1) and section 30(6) of the Firearms Act 1996 and section 19(1) of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 require a person to surrender any firearm/prohibited weapon and the licence/permit upon suspension.

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What happens to my firearms or prohibited weapons while my licence or permit is suspended?

Your firearms/prohibited weapons will remain with police until notification is received that your suspension has been lifted and your licence or permit is re-instated.

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What can I do if I don't agree with the suspension?

The decision to suspend the licence/permit is not one which you may have reviewed by the Firearms Registry or the Administrative Decisions Tribunal. However, you may write to the Commissioner and give reasons why the licence or permit should not be revoked.

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Refusal

Certain criminal history may prevent a person from obtaining a firearms licence or permit in NSW or from having their existing licence or permit re-issued. A refusal applies to a new application or a re-application.

For what reasons could my application or re-application be refused?

Section 11 and section 29 of the Firearms Act 1996 and section 10 of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 provide all the restrictions on the issue of licences and permits. The following list of grounds for refusal is an example and not exhaustive.

A firearms licence or permit must be refused if the applicant:

  • Is not a NSW resident (licence only).
  • Is under 18 years of age (licence only).
  • Is considered to be not fit and proper to possess firearms without danger to the public safety or to the peace.
  • Has not completed the required firearms safety training course.
  • Does not have a genuine reason/legitimate reason for obtaining the licence or permit.
  • Is subject to an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), or has been subject to an AVO within the last 10 years.
  • Is subject to a good behaviour bond for a prescribed offence.
  • Is subject to a firearms or weapons prohibition order.
  • Has been convicted within the last 10 years of an offence prescribed by the regulations.

Clause 5 of the Firearms Regulation 2006 and clause 5 of the Weapons Prohibition Regulation 2009 lists all the prescribed offences. These are offences:

  • relating to firearms or weapons
  • relating to prohibited drugs
  • involving violence
  • of a sexual nature
  • involving fraud, dishonesty or stealing
  • involving robbery
  • relating to terrorism
  • involving organised criminal groups and recruitment.

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When does a refusal take effect?

A refusal takes effect when the Notice of Refusal is served. A Notice of Refusal is issued by the Firearms Registry and will have the reason for refusal included in the Notice and any appeal rights.

A Notice of Refusal may be served by police or by post. The method of service will generally depend on whether firearms need to be seized.

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What is the effect of the refusal?

Once a licence or permit has been refused, and the Notice served, the person is no longer authorised to possess or use firearms/prohibited weapons.

Your firearms/prohibited weapons and your licence or permit must be surrendered to police.

Section 25(2) and section 30(7) of the Firearms Act 1996 authorises police to seize any firearms in possession of a person who has been served with a refusal notice and also authorises police to seize the licence or permit. Section 19(2) of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 authorises police to seize any prohibited weapons in possession of a person who has been served with a refusal notice.

In addition, section 7(1) and section 7A(1) of the Firearms Act 1996, and section 7(1) of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 provide for an offence of unauthorised possession of a prohibited firearm, pistol, firearm or prohibited weapon without the authority of a licence or permit.

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What can I do if I don't agree with the refusal?

You have a right of review of the refusal of your firearms licence or permit (other than a refusal for a permit for a prohibited firearm) - see section 75 of the Firearms Act 1996 and section 35 of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998.

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What happens to my firearms or prohibited weapons after my licence or permit has been refused?

Your firearms/prohibited weapons will remain with police.

If you request a review of the decision to refuse your application or re-application and the review is successful, you may retrieve your firearms from police upon notification from the Firearms Registry and production of a valid firearms licence or permit.

If you do not request a review or your refusal is upheld at review, you may instruct police to destroy the firearms or dispose of your firearms via a Firearms Dealer.

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Revocation

Certain criminal behaviour may prevent a person from continuing to hold a firearms licence or permit in NSW. A revocation applies to an existing licence or permit.

For what reasons could my licence or permit be revoked?

There are automatic, mandatory and discretionary grounds for revoking a firearms licence or permit.

Automatic grounds for revocation

A licence is automatically revoked if a person becomes subject to an Apprehended Violence Order or a Firearms or Weapons Prohibition Order - see section 24(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 and section 18(1) of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998.

Mandatory grounds for revocation

A licence held for the purposes of employment by an armed security guard must be revoked:

  • If the licensee fails to undertake firearms safety training each year, or
  • If the licensee is the holder of a P1F licence held under the Security Industry Act 1997 and that licence is revoked, or
  • The P1F licence holder contravenes any condition of their firearms licence.

Discretionary grounds for revocation

The following list of grounds for revocation is an example and not exhaustive - see section 11 and section 24 of the Firearms Act 1996, clause 19 and clause 20 of the Firearms Regulation 2006 and section 18 of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998.

A licence may be revoked:

  • For any reason the licensee would be refused a licence of the same kind,
  • If the person knowingly provided false and misleading information in relation to a licence application,
  • If the licensee contravened any provision of the Act or Regulation, whether or not a conviction has been recorded for the offence,
  • If the licensee contravened a condition of the licence,
  • If the person is no longer considered to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence,
  • If it is not in the public interest for the person to continue to hold a licence.

A firearms permit can be revoked for any reason for which a licence may be revoked - section 30(4)(a) of the Firearms Act 1996 relates.

Section 18 of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 provides the same grounds for the revocation of a prohibited weapon permit for which a licence may be revoked.

The associated Regulations provide further reasons for which a licence or permit may be revoked.

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When does a revocation take effect?

A revocation takes effect when the Notice of Revocation is served or on a later date specified on the notice. A Notice of Revocation is issued by the Firearms Registry and will have the reason for revocation included in the Notice and any appeal rights.

A Notice of Revocation is served by police or by post. The method of service will generally depend upon whether firearms exist and require seizure.

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What is the effect of a revocation?

Once a licence or permit has been revoked the person is no longer authorised to possess or use firearms/prohibited weapons.

Your firearms/prohibited weapons and your licence or permit must be surrendered to police.

Section 25(2) and section 30(7) of the Firearms Act 1996 authorises police to seize any firearms in possession of a person who has been served with a revocation notice and also authorises police to seize the licence or permit. Section 19(2) of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 authorises police to seize any prohibited weapons in possession of a person who has been served with a revocation notice.

Section 7(1) and section 7A(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 and section 7(1) of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 provide an offence of unauthorised possession of a prohibited firearm, pistol, firearm or prohibited weapon without the authority of a licence or permit.

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What can I do if I don't agree with the revocation?

You have a right of review of the revocation of your firearms licence or firearms permit (other than a revocation of a licence or permit on the basis of an Apprehended Violence Order or Firearms Prohibition Order) - section 75 of the Firearms Act 1996 for a firearms licence or firearms permit and section 35 of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 for a prohibited weapons permit.

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What happens to my firearms or prohibited weapons after my licence or permit has been revoked?

Your firearms/prohibited weapons will remain with police.

If you request a review of the decision to revoke your licence or permit and the review is successful, you may retrieve your firearms from police upon notification from the Firearms Registry and production of a valid firearms licence or permit.

If you do not request a review of your refusal is upheld at review, you may instruct police to destroy the firearms or dispose of your firearms via a Firearms Dealer.

For all enquiries regarding Suspensions, Refusals or Revocations contact the Firearms Registry Licensing Unit at email: frlicensing@police.nsw.gov.au.

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