Understanding Firearms and Weapons Restrictions
Without a licence or exemption, it is illegal to possess firearms or weapons or to carry ordinary items for use as a weapon in Victoria
Firearms and other weapons are strictly regulated in Victoria, but some people are surprised to learn that household items like kitchen knives are classified as “weapons.” This article will help you understand the regulation of weapons in Victoria.
The Firearms Act 1996 requires anyone who wants to own, possess, or carry a firearm, including handguns and long arms, to obtain a licence. Possessing, carrying, or using a firearm without a licence can be punished by a fine or a sentence of imprisonment. Maximum sentences range from 2 years to 7 years, depending on the nature of the firearm. Longer maximum sentences apply to individuals who are classified as “prohibited persons,” including those who have been convicted of serious crimes.
The Control of Weapons Act 1990 defines four categories of weapons in Victoria, other than firearms.
These are weapons that you cannot legally possess unless you receive an exemption from the Chief Commissioner. Examples include:
- Butterfly knives
- Flick knives
- Throwing stars
- Knuckle dusters (brass knuckles)
- Extendable batons
- Imitation firearms
Unless you have received an exemption, bringing prohibited weapons into Victoria, or selling them or possessing them in Victoria, can be punished by a fine or imprisonment of up to 2 years (or 4 years if carried into or near premises that are licenced to sell alcohol). Individuals who are prohibited from carrying firearms face a sentence of up to 10 years for possessing imitation firearms.
It is legal to possess or carry a controlled weapon in Victoria but only with a lawful excuse. A lawful excuse includes possessing the weapon for:
- Lawful employment
- A lawful activity
- Sports or recreation
- A collection
Self-defense is not considered a lawful excuse
Examples of controlled weapons include:
- Cattle prods
- Spear guns
- Hunting or fishing knives
- Kitchen knives
- Cudgels and batons
Possessing or carrying a controlled weapon without a lawful excuse is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to 1 year (or 2 years if carried into or near premises that are licenced to sell alcohol). Even if you are carrying a controlled weapon for a lawful purpose, you can be fined if you do not carry it in a safe and secure manner.
A dangerous article is a lawful item that becomes dangerous when used as a weapon. Tools such as hammers and sporting equipment such as golf clubs are examples of dangerous articles.
It is unlawful to carry a dangerous article in a public place with the intent to use it as a weapon. Carrying the article so you can use it for its intended purpose (such as carpentry or playing golf) is legal. Carrying the article for self-defense is illegal.
Possessing or carrying a dangerous article in a public place without a lawful purpose is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to 6 months (or 1 year if carried into or near premises that are licenced to sell alcohol).
Unless you have received the approval of the Chief Commissioner, it is unlawful to possess body armour in Victoria. The unlawful possession of body armour is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to 2 years.