Victorian Control of Weapons Act

 

The Victorian Control of Weapons Act 2000, and it’s related legislation, the Control of Weapons Regulations 2004 and the Firearms Act 1996, was enacted to control the presence of weapons in the hands of the public that might represent a threat to community safety. The Department of Justice recognises, however, that certain historical and cultural groups have a legitimate reason to possess some of these prohibited weapons (steel or other metal swords, spears, axes, pole arms and other weapons deemed to form a part of legitimate re-enactment of medieval life and history – for the purposes of the SCA activities these weapons have to be rebated (deliberately blunted, the standard rebate being a 2mm rounded edge)), and is thus empowered, under the auspices of the Governor-in-Council, to grant exemptions to these groups for specific situations. The Society for Creative Anachronism is one such organisation. The exemption itself can be accessed from http://www.sca.org.au/stormhold/files/exemption.pdf . It is highly recommended that you print out a copy of the exemption, read it thoroughly and understand it, and carry a copy on you when you are in possession of your weapon.Note that the SCA recreated weapons primarily constructed of rattan, with some instances of pvc, rubber and fibreglass, are classified as Controlled Weapons (class – batons). Controlled weapons are weapons that are designed for use for legitimate purposes but which need to be regulated because of the danger they pose if misused. These weapons include imitation firearms, swords and bayonets and all knives that are not classified as prohibited weapons. A person may possess, carry and use a controlled weapon provided he or she has a lawful excuse. A lawful excuse includes legitimate recreational, sporting, collecting or employment activities, but does not include self-defence. Breaches of the Act, whether for Prohibited or Controlled Weapons, carry a maximum penalty of a $6000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment.

The first thing that should be noted is that, if you are a prohibited person under the Act, then you are specifically excluded from any exemption. (note – clicking on the phrase “prohibited person will take you to the definition as per the Firearms Act 1996). The relevant passage in the Act is Section 3 Definitions (1), listed under “prohibited persons”.

You will note that there are conditions relating to the safe and secure storage of the weapons. These are covered by the Firearms Act 1996, Section 4 of Schedule 4. When transporting the weapons they must be kept in a secure container unable to be accessed readily by anyone other than the holder of the exemption. This means a sturdy wooden or a metal box with a lock. Traveling with the weapon in a bag is NOT sufficient under the exemption (in fact it could be considered a concealed weapon, which is another offence all together).

The exemption ONLY applies for travel to and from an historical re-eanctment event, the use of the weapon at such an event, and the storage of it at a residence or club establishment. If you are carrying the weapon for any other reason, you are not exempt.

At the meeting of the SCA Australia Ltd’s Board of Directors held on 26th March 2006 it was resolved that the only acceptable means of identifying a person as a member of the SCA Australia Ltd shall be a current financial membership card issued by the Registrar of the SCA Australia Ltd. It is recommended that you also carry a copy of the Exemption and photo id. An event flyer if you are on the way to an event (or a print out of an email or webpage announcement of the event or meeting) could also be useful.

Finally, remember the the moment you fail to meet any of the requirements, YOU ARE NO LONGER EXEMPT. Owning and carrying prohibited weapons is very much a privilege, and a privilege that is very easily removed. Your actions may also impact the rest of the group’s ability to continue to enjoy exemption.

IF YOU ARE IN ANY DOUBT AT ALL ABOUT YOUR ABILITY TO COMPLY WITH ALL THE REQUIREMENTS, DO NOT OWN OR CARRY A PROHIBITED WEAPON.

If you have any doubts about what is presented here, consult the legislation yourself, or enquire with the relevant authorities. The advice presented here is not that of a professional lawyer, and is offered as a guideline for those wishing to ensure compliance with the relevant Acts.

It is each individual’s responsibility to comply with the relevant Acts and regulations. The SCAA has no responsibility for any member’s adherence, or lack of adherence to, any of the conditions, requirements, statutes and guidleines with regard to this matter.

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