Importing weapons - Historical items test

The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations (the Regulations) provide a list of goods that are controlled on importation into Australia.

To import certain weapons into Australia, prior written permission from the Minister, or an authorised officer, is required. Applications for permission to import will only be considered when the weapons being imported comply with a legislated test.

One of the tests applicable to certain items is the historical items test.

Goods applicable to the test

The historical item test is applicable to maces and similar goods, flails and similar goods and body armour listed within Schedule 13 of the Regulations provided they meet the following criteria:

  • the item has historical significance as a pre-1900 weapon, meaning it must have been manufactured prior to 1900
  • the value and condition of the item would preclude it from be used as a functional weapon.

The item must be a genuine item manufactured prior to 1900, reproductions and replicas of pre-1900 weapons are excluded from the historical items test and will require permission to import under the requirements of another import test.

The applicable weapons are listed below:

  • Maces or similar goods:
    • capable of causing injury
    • consisting of a club or staff fitted with a flanged or spiked head
    other than a ceremonial mace made for use solely as a symbol of authority on ceremonial occasions.
  • Flails or similar goods consisting of a staff or handle that has fitted to one end, by any means, a freely swinging striking part armed with spikes or studded with any protruding matter.
  • Body armour, or any other similar goods:
    • designed for anti-ballistic or anti-fragmentation purposes
    • able to be worn on any part of the body
    however, this does not include the following:
    • helmets
    • anti-ballistic articles designed for eye or hearing protection
    • vests of plate carriers with no anti-ballistic or anti-fragmentation protection.

How to apply

All applications must be made in writing using a B710 Form — Application for Permission to Import Schedule 13 Weapons (443KB PDF). Standard permits are valid for six (6) months from the date of signature and for one (1) importation only.

Applications must be made prior to the importation of the goods. The assessment process takes approximately four (4) weeks from receipt by the processing office and may be extended if additional information is required or the application is considered incomplete.

You must provide supporting documents with your application to demonstrate that the importation satisfies the historical items test.

Lodgement of an application does not guarantee permission to import will be granted and goods should not be forwarded to Australia until notified of the approval in writing. Goods that are imported without a valid permit may be subject to seizure, disposal and/or prosecution.

Required supporting documents / import conditions

You must provide the following supporting documents with your application:

  • a copy of a licence or authorisation that demonstrates the importer is authorised to possess, use and/or deal in the goods for the importer’s intended use in accordance with the law of the State or Territory in which the goods are to be used if required
  • documentary evidence, and pictures of the items, to show the item was manufactured prior to 1900 and is in a condition, or of a value, that would preclude it from being used as a functional weapon
  • a copy of your current membership to a historical club or association for goods of the type being imported.

Assessment

We might investigate the importers history as part of the application process. Previous instances of non-compliance with our requirements might result in permission to import being refused.

The information provided in your application will be verified with the appropriate end user and any inconsistencies identified may be subject to investigation and subsequent legal action. Making a false or misleading statement to our officer is an offence under Section 234(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1901.