Section 7(1) of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1988 (NSW) provides that a person must not possess or use a prohibited weapon unless the person is authorised to do so by a permit.

The law clarifies that even where a permit is held, the weapon can only be used in accordance with the conditions of the permit, otherwise charges may be laid under s 7(2).

What is a prohibited weapon?

This is defined in Schedule 1 of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1988 (NSW). It includes, but is not limited to items such as:

‘flick-knives, sheath knives, ballistic knives, bombs, spearguns, crossbows, slingshots (except homemade and for use by a child engaging in play), a laser pointer with an output of more than 1 milliwatt, blowpipes, dart guns, whips, kung fu sticks, batons, flame throwers, tasers, studded gloves, handcuffs, body armour vests, grenades, rockets, missiles and mines in the nature of explosives or incendiaries, devices capable of administering electric shocks, and any device capable of discharging any irritant matter.’

What is possession?

Section 4 of the Act defines “possession”of a prohibited weapon as being where a person knowingly:

  1. has custody of the weapon, or
  2. has the weapon in the custody of another person, or
  3. has the weapon in or on any premises, place, vehicle, vessel or aircraft, whether or not belonging to or occupied by the person.

Merely being in possession of any of these weapons may result in facing serious charges, even if you did not know that the weapons were prohibited. People often make the mistake of assuming that it is legal to possess such items because they are sold at markets or online. Such retailers are also in breach of the law.

What is use?

Section 4 of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1988 (NSW) defines “use” as causing a reasonable belief that the weapon will be used.

What are my options?

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