Victoria Legal Aid

Guns and other weapons

The law says you can’t carry, possess or use a weapon, including guns, knives, and other weapons and ‘dangerous articles’, to hurt people or to defend yourself.

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.

Weapon 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 (fake) 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 firearms 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 article or 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 they 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.

Other support

Find out how you can get other support for criminal offences.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 11 April 2022

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