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Australian Gun Culture: Prohibited Weapons in Australia

In Australia, I became aware of an administrative procedure where the state police can find a person unfit to possess either firearms, firearms parts, or prohibited weapons. What exactly were prohibited weapons under Australian law? This website lists prohibited weapons.

The list of prohibited weapons is extensive and, from an American perspective, bizarre. Some of the weapons are antiquated. Others are modern, while some may be simple mistakes or misunderstandings.  I have studied weapons law of many American states. It appears that someone in Australia (probably the George Soros funded group that was headed by Rebecca Peters) looked up all the prohibited weapons they could find in law, anywhere, and lumped them all together on the prohibited list. I have edited the list to take out duplication.

Here is the list of prohibited weapons, in italics. My comments are in standard print.  From australianpolice.com:

Miscellaneous Weapons:

*Missile launchers: 

any device that is designed to propel or launch a bomb, grenade, rocket or missile by any means other than an explosive.

No air propelled rockets or water balloon launchers. No potato launchers. No hobby rockets or model rockets.  It appears that a simple sling is prohibited. No biblical era missile launchers allowed. If the term “missile” below excludes simple rocks or solid objects, the above may be allowed.  I hope that is the interpretation the police would use. Bows seem to be commonly available and unregulated except for crossbows.

Bomb, grenade, rocket, missile or mine:

or any similar device which expels or contains an explosive, incendiary, irritant or gas. 

Flame thrower:

that is of military design or any other device that is capable of projecting ignited incendiary fuel.

Crossbow:

or any similar device consisting of a bow fitted transversely on a stock that has a groove or barrel designed to direct an arrow or bolt. 

Sling shot

a device consisting of an elasticised band secured to the forks of a Y shaped frame other than a home made sling shot for use by a child in the course of play.

Cross bows prohibited? Not just forbidden to use in urban areas, as in many American cities. Outright prohibited. Slingshots prohibited? I suspect this came from the American 19th century prohibition on slung shot, which is a totally different weapon, favored by 19th century criminals. To be fair, some Australian states prohibit commercial slingshots, but allow homemade ones for use “by children”.  Very weird.

Mace: 

or any other similar article that consists of a club or staff fitted with a flanged or spiked head, other than a ceremonial mace made for and used solely as a symbol of authority on ceremonial occasions.

So, a club or staff without a flanged or spiked head is not prohibited? Perhaps they did not want to outlaw sticks, baseball bats, or cricket bats.

Flail: 

or any other similar article that consists of a staff or handle that has fitted to one end, by any means, a freely swinging striking part that is armed with spikes or studded with any protruding matter.

Whip: 

that has a lash which is comprised wholly or partly of any form of metal.

Cat-o’-nine tails: 

or any other whip that consists of a handle to which there is attached any number of knotted lashes.

King fu sticks or ‘nunchaku’: 

or any other article consisting of two or more sticks or bars made of any material that are joined together by any means that allows the sticks or bars to swing independently of each other.

The actual slung shot does not seem to fit any of these descriptions. Perhaps it is not prohibited.

Side-handled baton:

or any other article consisting of a baton, staff or rod that is made of any hard substance and has fitted to one side a handle, whether or not that handle is permanently fixed. 

Knuckle-dusters:

or any other similar article that is made of any hard substance and that can be fitted over the knuckles of the hand of the user to protect.


Taser Self-Defence Weapon:

Any hand-held device that is designed to administer an electric shock on contact, such as the Taser Self-Defence Weapon or an electrified brief-case, but do not include any such hand-held device that may lawfully be used on an animal in accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979. 

*Extendable or Telescopic Baton:

or any article consisting of a baton, staff or rod that is made of any hard substance and has fitted to one side a handle, whether or not that handle is permanently fixed.

I will ask people at the Shot Show in Brisbane about this. Walking sticks or canes are not prohibited. Why the obsession with side handles? Probably from all the publicity given to PR-24 batons.

*Devices designed to stun or disorient people by emitting noise and light:
(known as sound & flash grenades)

any acoustic or light emitting anti-personal device that is designed to cause permanent or temporary incapacity or to otherwise disorientate persons.

Are camera flashes included? I hope not. It is interesting that the emphasis seems to be on anything that may be used as a weapon, but which logically extends to nearly everything. Personal noise alarms are right out.

Miscellaneous articles:
Body armour vests:

or other similar articles designed for anti-ballistic purposes and to be worn on any part of the body (other than helmets or anti-ballistic articles used for eye or hearing protection).
Handcuffs:

(other than antique handcuffs, or children’s toy handcuffs that are of an approved type).
Silencers:

or any other device designed for attachment to a firearm for the purpose of muffling, reducing or stopping the noise created by firing the firearm.

Flex ties are not regulated, nor are rope, chains, or locks, as far as I can determine.

Replicas, imitations, concealed blades: 

Walking stick or cane:

that contains a sword or any other single-edged or multi-edged blade or spike of any length or of any material.
Riding crop:

that contains a knife, stiletto or any other single-edged or multi-edged blade or spike of any length or material.
Bowen Knife Belt:

or any other similar article consisting of a belt or buckle that conceals or disguises within the article a knife or a single-edged or multi-edged blade or spike of any length or of any material.
Concealed knives:

any article or device that:a) due to its appearance is capable of being mistaken for something else that is not a weapon, and

b) disguises and conceals within it a single-edged or multi-edged blade or spike of any length or of any material.

So concealed or disguised knives are not allowed. There are similar regulations in many states.

Replica or imitation firearms:

an imitation of any firearm which requires a licence or permit under the Firearms Act, unless approved by the Commissioner of Police.
Imitation or replica of a bomb, grenade, rocket, missile or mine:

unless approved by the Commissioner of Police.

At least one person has been prosecuted for having a replica gun. I do not see this sort of statute in many places. Even England allows replica and non-firing guns. A model of a bomb or pistol is illegal unless allowed by the Commissioner of Police. The inverse of the idea of English and American law, where everything is allowed, except what is prohibited. Here, everything is prohibited, except what is allowed. All the prohibited weapons are allowed if you can wrangle a permission slip from the police.

Knives:

Flick knife:(or other similar device) 

a blade which opens automatically by gravity or centrifugal force or by any pressure applied to a button, spring or device in or attached to the handle of the knife.

*Ballistic knife: 

a knife that propels a knife-like blade of any material by any means other than an explosive.

Sheath knife: 

a knife which has a sheath which withdraws into its handle by gravity or centrifugal force or if pressure is applied to a button, spring or device attached to or forming part of the sheath, handle or blade of the knife.

Urban Skinner push dagger: 

or any other device that consists of a single-edged or multi-edged blade or spike that has a handle fitted transversely to the blade or spike and allows the blade or spike to be supported by the palm of the hand so that stabbing blows or slashes can be inflicted by a punching or pushing action.

Trench knife: 

or any other device that consists of a single-edged or multi-edged blade or spike that is fitted with a handle made of any hard substance that can be fitted over the knuckles of the hand of the user to protect the knuckles and increase the effect of a punch or blow, or that is adapted for such use.

Butterfly knife or ‘balisong’: 

or any other device that consists of a single-edged or multi-edged blade or spike that fits within two handles attached to the blade or spike by transverse pivot pins and is capable of being opened by gravity or centrifugal force.

Star knife: 

or any other device that consists of a number of angular points, blades or spikes disposed outwardly about a central axis point and that are designed to spin around the central axis point in flight when thrown at a target.

What did they miss? No prohibition on blow guns. That may be covered elsewhere.  Sap gloves? They do not appear to fit any of the definitions. Australia has a very mild climate. I expect that gloves would tend to stand out. Most knives, axes, machetes, swords, and walking sticks are not prohibited weapons in Australia, though swords owners are required to have a license in Victoria. The classic atl-atl or woomera spear throwing stick is not mentioned.

A person can walk around with a machete in hand, a knife on their belt or a sword in a sheath if they can give a police officer a reasonable reason for having the article. Self defense is not considered a reasonable reason.

Prohibited weapons vary somewhat by Australian state. A form of sling shot that does not use a Y fork is acceptable in New South Wales. It is the Pocket Shot. Some states appear to have only limited restrictions on sling shots, such as forbidding a wrist brace.

These sort of overbroad laws are often ignored. The discretion of the police officer or officers becomes extremely important. The rule of law becomes the rule of man. Fortunately, Australian police have been very polite and reasonable people, at least those that I had interaction with.

It seems that Alexis de Tocqueville’s prediction in “Democracy in America” from 1835 is fulfilled in Australia:

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

It seems strange for a nation of such vast frontiers, such tremendous resources, to be so bound up in small laws and restrictions. It is happening all over Western civilization. Try buying an incandescent bulb in the United States, or to design and build your own house.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.  Gun Watch

 

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