Carrying weapons

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Carrying weapons

The law says you can’t carry, possess or use a weapon to hurt people or to defend yourself. 

If the police believe you are illegally carrying a weapon, they can search you and your car without a warrant. If they find a weapon they can take it from you.

Weapons offences can be very serious. Get legal advice.


You can’t own or buy a gun until you turn 18. You must register the gun and have a licence for it. This includes a replica gun. There are strict rules for anyone wanting to own or carry a gun.

Some people are not allowed to get a licence or to carry, own or possess guns or other prohibited weapons. This includes anyone who has an intervention order against them or a person who has been to jail or is serving a community corrections order.

If you are aged between 12 and 17 you can get a licence for using a gun from the police, but only for learning how to use a gun or for sport. You will only get a licence if:

  • your parent or guardian agrees in writing
  • you are a member of an approved shooting club
  • you have done a firearms safety course
  • you are a responsible person.

If you get the licence, you can only use a gun with a person over 18 who has a shooter’s licence.

Anyone can use an airgun or air rifle in a shooting gallery at a show or amusement centre.

Other weapons

You can’t carry knives, including kitchen knives, Swiss army knives or box-cutters, batons, cattle prods or bayonets without a lawful excuse. 

A 'lawful excuse' could include having the weapon for work, sport, recreation or a weapons collection, display or exhibition. Lawful excuse does not include self-defence.

You can only possess or carry some weapons if you do so safely.

You also can’t carry weapons like ​flick knives, daggers, butterfly knives or knuckle knives, swords, nunchakus, knuckle-dusters, shanghais, blow guns, imitation firearms, capsicum spray, slingshots, weighted or studded gloves, throwing stars or catapults without a special exemption or permission from police. 

Dangerous articles

You can’t carry or possess an object that has been adapted for use as a weapon, unless you have a lawful excuse. It is also an offence to carry an article with the intention of using it as a weapon.

Dangerous articles can include:

  • an axe
  • a cricket bat
  • a hammer.

In the case of dangerous articles ‘lawful excuse’ can include having the weapon for work, for sport, for a weapons collection, display or exhibition, but not self-defence.

Police powers to search for weapons

Police can search you, your bag or your car for weapons without a warrant if they reasonably suspect you are carrying a weapon illegally.

Just being in an area where there is a lot of violent crime can be enough reason for police to search you without a warrant.

Police can also search you if you are in a place police declare to be a special ‘designated area’ for weapons searches. Police usually tell people that the public area has become a designated area by publishing it in the local newspaper

If you are in a ‘designated area’, police do not need a reason to suspect you are carrying weapons to search you. However, they must show you a search notice before they search you.

If police have the power to search you without a warrant and you resist, you may be charged with a criminal offence.

See Getting searched for more information. 

Get help

Find out how you can get help with criminal offences.

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