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‘Non-prohibited’ status and section 189 applications

Release date: Fri 30 December 2011

Last updated: Fri 16 January 2015

The Firearms Act 1996 provides that under certain circumstances, prohibited persons may apply to a Victorian court to become non-prohibited. Section 189 of the Firearms Act 1996 outlines these circumstances and the process by which a person may apply for a firearm licence.

Section 189 applications are usually made by a person requiring a firearm licence for a 'genuine reason' such as for employment purposes.

Who can make a section 189 application?

You may make a section 189 application if you are only a prohibited person because:

  • You are subject to either a final order under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008, the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 or an equivalent order made in another Australian state or territory which does not include conditions cancelling or revoking a firearms related licence, permit or authority
  • You were found guilty within the last 12 months of an offence against the Firearms Act 1996 or any other Australian state or territory act involving the possession or use of firearms where the court had the option of imposing a term of imprisonment
  • You who were found guilty within the last 12 months in an Australian state or territory of an indictable offence.

Provided that you are not actually serving a term of imprisonment for the offences listed above, you may make a section 189 application within 12 months of your court hearing.

How do I make an application?

A section 189 application form is available from any Victorian court. The form must be lodged with the level of court that heard the case which resulted in you being prohibited. For example, if an intervention order was determined in the Magistrates' Court, your section 189 application must be lodged with the Magistrates' Court. However, if an offence or order was determined in an interstate court, your section 189 application must be lodged with the Victorian Supreme Court.

In the first instance, all section 189 applications are forwarded to Victoria Police's Licensing & Regulation Division (LRD). Police members appointed as Divisional Firearms Officers (DFOs) normally co-ordinate section 189 applications.

The DFO or a delegated police member co-ordinates the interview of persons affected by the application. Those interviewed may include:

The DFO or delegated police member will then make a decision to oppose or endorse an application. On some occasions where applications are being opposed, the DFO may attend the court hearing to give evidence on behalf of the Chief Commissioner of Police.

What happens at the hearing?

The court hearing for a section 189 application is conducted in a similar way to the court hearings for orders under the Family Violence Act or the Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act.

The following persons may attend a section 189 hearing in addition to the applicant:

  • Legal representatives
  • Affected family member(s)
  • The police prosecutor
  • Police members (where an application relates to a criminal offence)
  • The DFO
  • Other persons relevant to the application.

Before an application is heard, police will explain to any affected family members or persons objecting to the application how the case is likely to proceed and whether any other person will be opposing the application or giving evidence.

Any persons opposing the application who attend the hearing are likely to be required to give evidence on oath to the court. Any evidence given by an affected family member or person objecting to the application may be challenged by the person making the section 189 application or their legal representative. Equally, the police prosecutor may challenge any evidence the person making the section 189 application gives.

What happens after the application is determined?

Successful section 189 applications
If a firearm licence was suspended as a result of an interim or final order, the licence will be reinstated and the holder notified. If a firearm licence was seized and forwarded to LRD, it will be returned to the licence holder with an accompanying reinstatement letter.

If a firearm licence was cancelled, the licence holder can apply to LRD for a new firearms licence.

Unsuccessful section 189 applications
If a section 189 application has been unsuccessful, LRD will cancel the suspended licence. A letter will be sent to the licence holder advising them that their suspended licence has now been cancelled. It will also advise that if their firearms are held at a police station, they must organise within 28 days to have their firearms transferred to a licensed firearm dealer or surrender them for destruction.

Our Quick Guide for Licence Holders (PDF) and Quick Guide for Complainants and Affected Family Members (PDF) provide more detailed information on section 189 applications.

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