Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Victorian Govt takes swipe at machetes

The Victorian Government has today introduced legislation changes to boost police powers on illegal firearms and weapons sales.

Minister for Police, Anthony Carbines says the Firearms and Control of Weapons (Machetes) Amendment Bill 2024 will amend existing laws to make it easier for police to serve a firearm prohibition order (FPO) on a person.

“The illicit use of a firearm or weapon is dangerous and unacceptable. With these changes, we’re continuing to give Victoria Police the powers they need to keep everyone safe,” said Mr Carbines.

“This Bill makes it clear that a machete is a weapon and not a tool to be sold to a minor – reducing the risk of them ending up in the hands of someone under 18.” 

While the scheme has seen Victoria Police issue more than 2,000 FPOs to keep illicit firearms out of the hands of serious and organised crime members, currently FPOs must be served in person which can prove difficult where a person is avoiding police.

Under this new Bill, police will be able to stop a person in a public place and direct that they remain there or accompany an officer to a police station or other safe place for up to two hours for the purposes of serving an FPO.

Police will also be able to apply to a magistrate for a warrant to enter a premises to search for and serve a person an FPO.  Where an individual in detention has declined a visit by a police officer, police will also be able to serve an FPO on that person by registered post.

“These amendments will ensure that the scheme continues to give police the powers they need to disrupt the use of illicit firearms and keep the community safe,” the Minister said.

Separately, the Bill will amend the Control of Weapons Act 1990 to ensure that there is no doubt that a machete is a controlled weapon. 

By clarifying the definition of a controlled weapon, the legal status of machetes will be clear – they cannot be possessed, carried, or used without a lawful excuse or sold to anyone under the age of 18. 

While machetes are frequently used for legitimate and lawful purposes, such as clearing food crops, gardening and maintaining trails – clarifying to traders that machetes are controlled weapons and proof of age must be checked before sale will help police ensure machetes don’t end up in the hands of minors.

The penalty for carrying a controlled weapon with an unlawful excuse is a fine of more than $23,000 or a jail term of one year.  

It is an offence for a person to sell a controlled weapon to any person under 18, with a fine of up to $3,846.  It is also an offence for a child to purchase a controlled weapon, with a fine of up to $2,308. 

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