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FROM THE MINISTER FOR POLICE & EMERGENCY SERVICES

DATE: Monday, March 8, 2004


SWORDS TO BECOME PROHIBITED WEAPONS

Swords will become prohibited weapons from July 1, carrying penalties of up to $12,000 or six months in prison for illegal use or possession, the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Andre Haermeyer said today.

Mr Haermeyer announced new sword regulations today, saying they would assist Victoria Police to crack down on incidents involving swords.

“The Bracks Government is implementing these new regulations to help Victoria Police overcome this culture of young people arming themselves with swords,” Mr Haermeyer said.

“From July 1, swords will be made prohibited weapons, making it illegal to use, possess or carry a sword.”

Mr Haermeyer said the elevation of swords from controlled to prohibited weapons would also impact on vendors attempting to sell swords.

“It is illegal to sell prohibited weapons other than in limited circumstances. Vendors will only be legally permitted to sell a sword to an individual who can produce evidence that they fall within an exempt category or have a specific approval from the Chief Commissioner,” he said.

“Vendors will be required to register who they have sold swords to, the nature of the buyers’ exemption and the type of sword or swords.

“Police will have the power to inspect a vendor’s register.”

Mr Haermeyer said the Government would establish exempt categories to ensure legitimate sword owners were not disadvantaged.

“There are some cultural, religious, military and collector groups that have legitimate reasons to own swords,” he said.

“Such groups will be able to apply for an Order exempting their members from the need to obtain individual approvals. Also, individuals who do not fall into those categories will be able to apply to the Chief Commissioner of Police for an individual approval.”

He said the new Orders would also carry some security conditions.

“Legitimate sword owners understand the importance of ensuring that their swords do not fall into the wrong hands,” Mr Haermeyer said.

“Our intention is to ensure that security requirements provide a level of community assurance without being too onerous for legitimate sword owners.”

Mr Haermeyer said the Government had issued a Regulatory Impact Statement regarding swords last year and had assessed feedback from a range of stakeholders.

“It’s clear that the majority of Victorians back the push to keep swords off the streets,” he said.

“The feedback we have received from stakeholders has been valuable and will help to ensure that we achieve this aim while not unfairly disadvantaging legitimate sword owners.”

Mr Haermeyer said the Government had given police 480 metal detectors and late last year introduced new search powers, to enable Victoria Police to search people they reasonably suspect are carrying weapons.

Also, in the Autumn 2000 session of Parliament, new legislation was passed to restrict the sale and possession of knives and other weapons.

© Copyright 2005 The Antique and Historical Arms Collectors Guild of Victoria. All rights reserved.