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Importation of Non-Firearm Weapons

The importation of weapons into Australia is regulated at the Commonwealth level by the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956. Due to the wide range of items that may constitute a weapon, procedures may be modified from time to time by policy decisions of the Attorney-General’s Department and the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management.

Requirements for Lawful Importation

Schedule 13 of the Regulations outlines the authorities and tests required for importation of non-firearm weapons.

Police Certification Test

For weapons subject to this test, importers must complete a Form 709B form and have it signed by the police weapons registry in their state of territory. The form notifies Australian Border Force that the importer either has the appropriate licence or that a licence is not required. This test applies to weapons such as daggers, nunchukas, crossbows, throwing knives, body armour, extendable batons and laser pointers.

Official Purposes Test

This test applies to weapons to be imported for:

  • supply to a Commonwealth, state or territory government;
  • supply to a government of a foreign country;
  • demonstration, inspection, testing, evaluation or training use by a Commonwealth, state or territory government;
  • donation to a Commonwealth, state or territory governments.

Specified Purposes Test

This test applies to weapons imported for:

  • licensed film armourers;
  • supply of large calibre ammunition and components outside Australia;
  • repairs, modification or testing;
  • a defence or police-sanctioned activity;
  • research or development;
  • manufacture and assembly.

Specified Person Test

This test applies to goods to be imported for use in the importer’s employment, or for display, testing and resale to licensed bodies. It covers items such as body armour, extendable or telescopic batons, laser pointers, and anti-personnel sprays and chemicals.

Dealer Test

This test applies to goods being imported as stock for sale to a Commonwealth, state or territory government, a person with a contract to sell to such a government, or a certified buyer.

Returned Goods Test

This test applies to goods being imported that have previously been imported, or will be exported temporarily from Australia.

Collectors and Non-Government Museum Test

This test requires that items of warfare be deactivated, inert and rendered permanently inoperable.

Historical Items Test

This test applies to maces, flails and body armour provided that:

  • the item has historical significance as a pre-1900 weapon, meaning it must have been made before 1900;
  • the item’s value and condition would preclude it from being used as a functional weapon;
  • the importer is a member of a historical club or association for such items.

Public Interest Test and National Interest Test

An importer can apply to the Minister for Home Affairs under these tests. Import permission may be granted by the Minister if:

  • the importation is in the public interest or national interest;
  • the importer holds a licence or authorisation to possess the item (if a licence or authorisation is required);
  • the item will be secured appropriately in Australia.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Sally Crosswell

This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

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