Prohibited & Controlled Weapons - What's The Difference?
An adult entertainer was recently arrested in Perth after frightening locals dressed in military-style clothing and a vest with “SWAT” embossed on the back, while brandishing what looked like an AR-15 assault rifle.
The man has been charged with possessing a prohibited weapon and being armed in a way that may cause fear.
Police responded to a significant number of calls from concerned locals, and while they established that there was no real threat to the community, matters of this nature are taken very seriously. The gun is undergoing further examination to see if it is functional; it's believed to be a gel blaster.
Gel blasters which shoot water-filled gel pellets, have been prohibited in WA since July 2021 on the back of a rise of replica guns being smuggled into Western Australia and converted into real weapons. The penalty for possessing a gel blaster is up to three years in jail or a fine of up to $36,000.
In Western Australia firearms are governed primarily by the Firearms Act 1974.
All gun owners must have their firearm/s registered and they must also must have a licence. Owners must be over the age of 18 to attain a license – although anyone of any age can use a firearm under the supervision of a licence holder.
New firearm laws have been introduced in WA to give police officers sweeping powers to target bikie groups and organised crime gangs.
In Western Australia, weapons are governed by the Weapons Act 1999.
There are two category types of weapons under the law:
1. Prohibited weapons
Pursuant to section 6 of the Weapons Act it is unlawful to carry, possess, purchase, sell, supply, manufacture or bring/send a prohibited weapon into Western Australia. The offence carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment.
Prohibited weapons are specifically listed in schedule 1 to the Weapons Regulations 1999 and include: acoustic shock weapon, ballistic knife, blow pipe, butterfly knife, catapult with or without an arm brace, crossbow, disguised knife or sword, electric shock weapon, electromagnetic weapon, extendable baton, flick knife or switchblade, gas dart, gel blaster, knuckle dusters, knuckle knife, spray weapon (not capsicum spray).
Pursuant to section 10 and 11 of the Weapons Act a person does not commit an offence under section 6, 7 or 8 of the Weapons act only because of something done by the person in the performance of the person’s functions as —
- A member of the police force,
- A security officer under the Public Transport Authority Act 2003,
- A member of staff or employee of the museum or a person engaged to provide a service to the museum
- A prison officer,
- An aviation or maritime security officer,
2. Controlled Weapons:
Controlled weapons are weapons that can be possessed, carried and used for legitimate purposes but may pose a potential danger to the community.
Controlled weapons are specifically listed in schedule 2 to the Weapons Regulations 1999 and include: approved electric shock case, baton flail, bow, captive bolt gun, dagger, double end knife, fixed baton, halberd, hand or foot claws, imitation firearm, light pointer, machete, metal whip, pressure point weapon, Pronged weapon, Sickle or scythe weapon, Spear, Spear gun, studded weapon, sword, throwing blade or knife, throwing star, weighted chain or cord weapon.
Controlled weapons are also defined as any other article, not being a firearm or a prohibited weapon, made or modified to be used —
- to injure or disable a person;
- to cause a person to fear that someone will be injured or disabled by that use; or
- for attack or defence in the practice of a martial sport, art or similar discipline.
The offence of carrying or possessing a controlled weapon carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 2 years and a fine of $24 000.
Defence to a charge of possessing oleoresin capsicum spray
Pursuant to clause 7 of the Weapons Regulations 1999 a spray weapon made or modified to be used to discharge oleoresin capsicum may be carried or possessed by a person for the purpose of being used in lawful defence in circumstances where the person has reasonable grounds to apprehend may arise.
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PLEASE NOTE: The material in this blog post is for informational use only and should not be construed as legal advice. For answers to your questions regarding this or other topics, please contact a professional legal representative.