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Prohibited weapons and explosives

Prohibited weapons, dangerous articles and explosives pose a risk to public safety. There are a number of laws that restrict or prohibit the possession and use of such items.

Prohibited weapons

Prohibited weapons are a risk to public safety. You cannot possess a prohibited weapon without an exemption.

Exemptions are issued for specific purposes only and conditions apply for each weapon.

Prohibited weapons include:

Knives

  • ballistic knife where the blade is fired by explosion, mechanics or percussion
  • butterfly knife / Bali knife / Balisong knife
  • fighting knives - a knife (other than a bayonet or sword) designed for hand to hand fighting, for example, a butterfly knife, dagger, flick-knife, push knife or trench knife
  • knife belt that conceals or disguises the knife
  • star knife / shuriken / ninja star / throwing star
  • whole or part of a knife that cannot be detected by a metal detector or x-ray.

Daggers

  • double-sided blade or spike-style blade daggers
  • traditional Scottish daggers - Dirk and Sgian dhu.

Other weapons

  • nunchakus martial arts weapon
  • bayonet
  • brace catapult / slingshot
  • concealed weapons
  • extendable baton
  • full-size or pistol cross-bow
  • hand or foot claws / ninja claws
  • knuckle duster including weighted or studded gloves
  • laser pointer of more than 1 milliwatt
  • morning star, also known as English or medieval mace
  • poniard, a Masonic ceremonial weapon
  • tear gas where the chemical is CN, CS or DM tear gas.
Prohibited weapons exemptions

You may be able to apply for an exemption to possess a prohibited weapon.

Exemptions may be allowed for:

  • astronomical use by the Astronomic Society SA and Mars Society Australia
  • collectors to add to an existing collection
  • emergency workers or volunteers
  • executors, administrators and receivers of estates
  • family heirlooms
  • Freemasons
  • lawful and recognised entertainment
  • lawful and recognised sport or recreation
  • legal manufacturers of weapons
  • museums and art galleries
  • preparation of food and drink for human consumption
  • religious purposes
  • Scottish associations
  • security agents protecting or guarding property
  • service organisations such as the Returned Services League.

Conditions and requirements apply for each weapon.

See Schedule 2 of the Summary Offences Act 1953 on the South Australian Legislation website for a full list of exemptions and their conditions.

Dangerous articles

Dangerous articles are a risk to public safety. You cannot possess a dangerous article unless it is allowed under another Act.

Dangerous articles include:

  • anti-theft case designed to give an electric shock
  • blow gun or blow pipe
  • commercially made catapult / slingshot without a brace
  • dart projector designed to propel a dart by elastic material
  • gas injector device designed to inject gas or other substance into an animal
  • handheld electric, sound or electromagnetic self-protection device
  • self-protecting offensive, noxious or irritant spray.

See Schedule 2 of the Summary Offences (weapons) Regulations 2012 on the South Australian Legislation website for descriptions of dangerous articles.

Explosives

On 1 May 2018, the Statutes Amendments (Explosives) Act 2017 commenced, amending both the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 and Summary Offences Act 1953, to introduce a range of new offences and penalties for the possession and use of explosive devices, substances and equipment, as well as to provide additional authorities for police to investigate and manage explosive related incidents.

The following advice is also provided as required by legislation.

Manner of Property Analysis

The following guidelines in relation to ‘the manner in which seized property may be analysed’ are hereby published by the Commissioner of Police pursuant to Section 72E(2)(a) and (3) of the Summary Offences Act 1953:

“Pursuant to S72E (2) (a) and (3) Summary Offences Act 1953, analysis of any quantity of seized property may be undertaken by means of testing, physical examination, visual inspection , or through photographs or films of the property, having regard to the need to protect the safety of any persons or property.  The seized property may be analysed by an appointed analyst, or under his or her supervision, using any one or more of the following methods;

  • Chemical testing
  • Electronic testing, including but not limited to- gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, Rahman and/ or Infrared Spectroscopy etc
  • Visual inspection
  • Flame testing, including but not limited to- gas chromatography, flame ionisation, flame sensitivity testing etc
  • Impact sensitivity testing
  • Photographic or video inspection and recording
  • X-ray examination.

When determining the most suitable method of analysis, the safety of any person involved, (whether at the time of the analysis subsequently) will remain the highest priority.”

Keeping of records

The following guidelines in relation to ‘the keeping of records in relation to the analysis of seized property’ are hereby published by the Commissioner of Police pursuant to Section 72E(2)(b) of the Summary Offences Act 1953:

“Pursuant to S72E (2) (b) Summary Offences Act 1953, records in relation to the analysis of seized property may be kept via any electronic means, in paper form, or by photographic film or photograph and will be managed in accordance with the State Records Act 1997 and South Australia Police General Order: Records Management (as amended from time to time).”

See the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 and the Summary Offences Act 1953 for further information.

Found explosives or suspicious items

DO NOT TOUCH any suspected explosives, dangerous items or substances.

In the event that you find any explosives or suspicious items, DO NOT TOUCH or attempt to move the item.  Ensure your own personal safety and that of any other persons in the vicinity and immediately report the matter to Police by calling the SAPOL Call Centre 131 444, or in the event of an emergency or immediate life threating situation call 000.

People wishing to surrender explosives or any other related materials should contact the SAPOL Call Centre on 131 444 or their local police.  Under no circumstances are explosives or dangerous items to be taken to a police station.  Items should be left in place until police are advised and advice is provided in regard to the safe management of such items.

See the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 and the Summary Offences Act 1953 for further information.