Crossbows prohibited in Western Australia

Press release from Minister for Police, Emergency Services, Road Safety, Rob Johnson

Amendments to the Weapons Act 1999 to reclassify crossbows from a controlled weapon to a prohibited weapon will come into effect this Saturday (April 9) across Western Australia.

Police Minister Rob Johnson said the decision followed an agreement by the Australasian Police Minister’s Council (APMC) that crossbows should be prohibited across Australia.

“Currently, as controlled weapons, crossbows are legally purchased through a number of specialised outlets,” Mr Johnson said.

“The changes will limit the circumstances under which crossbows can be lawfully purchased.

“We want to reduce the likelihood that a crossbow falls into the wrong hands and is used to injure or kill a person or animal.”

The Minister said he had been in regular contact with the Halstead family, whose son Christopher was killed with a crossbow in 2009. He said the family had given their strong support for changes to the law.

A number of limited exceptions will apply for the possession of crossbows:

  • Exempt collectors - genuine collectors of crossbows will be able to possess and continue collecting crossbows
  • Exempt arbalest - anyone engaged in crossbow events or competitions and who belong to an Archery Australia Inc member club (the changes will only allow those people who are currently engaged in the sport to continue this activity)
  • Dramatic productions - producers of dramatic productions can apply in writing to the Commissioner of Police for an exemption notice in respect to any prohibited weapons (including crossbows) listed in Schedule 1 of the Weapons Regulations 1999.

The provisions in respect to collectors, arbalests and dramatic productions will not commence until Friday, July 1 in order to give these groups and police enough time to process approvals without people committing offences or needing to conduct amnesties.

Mr Johnson said he had met with a number of associations, which indicated they had no objections to the changes.

Anyone with a crossbow who does not qualify for one of the three exceptions need to lawfully dispose of the crossbow, destroy it or alternatively surrender it to a police station.
Retailers will still be able to sell and supply crossbows; however, this will be strictly limited to circumstances where one of the exceptions apply.

The penalty for buying, possessing, selling, supplying or manufacturing crossbows outside the exemptions is a $36,000 fine and three years jail.

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