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      are tasers illegal

      Are Tasers Legal in Australia?

      In Australia, tasers are primarily used by law enforcement officers like the police to incapacitate those who pose a threat to themselves, others or the police.

      Tasers are strictly regulated and subjected to guidelines which aim to minimise their misuse. Police officers undergo training to ensure that they are handling and operating tasers safely and within strict protocols.

      What is a Taser?

      A taser is a conducted energy device (CED) primarily used to incapacitate people as a non-lethal self-defence tool.

      They have recently increased in popularity around the world. While tasers may be used for protection by law enforcement officers, taser laws and regulations vary and may affect the eligibility of an individual to possess or use them.

      Taser Laws in Australia

      It is illegal for a civilian to own or use a taser in Australia. Specific groups of people who are permitted to carry a taser are limited by regulations.

      In States where tasers are allowed under licences or permits, a person will need to submit background checks, comply with training requirements and provide a legitimate purpose for owning or using tasers. The issuing authority may take into account things like job responsibilities, unique situations, or dangers to one’s personal safety.

      Even in cases where tasers are lawfully owned, there are strict regulations around their use. When someone uses a taser in a manner beyond reasonable force or in non-defensive circumstances, they may be charged with a criminal offence.

      If you have been charged with such an offence, you should contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer to advise you on any defence strategies. Contact Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823 or email us at info@astorlegal.com.au.

      Are Tasers legal in NSW?

      Tasers are illegal in NSW under section 7(1) of the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998. The maximum penalty for possessing or using a taser is 14 years imprisonment. If the matter is resolved in the Local Court, the Magistrate can only impose a maximum term of imprisonment of two years.

      Generally, only government or law enforcement agencies are granted permits to carry and use a taser.

      When can Police use a Taser?

      A police officer can use a taser if its use is reasonably necessary to apprehend someone or stop them from escaping once they have been arrested. This is specified in section 231 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002. Using a taser on a person constitutes an application of force. As such, police officers must use tasers in accordance with Part 18 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002.

      According to section 230 of the same Act, police are allowed to use force when it is reasonably required to perform other significant tasks that fall under their power, such as giving a ‘move on direction’. However, it is arguable that the use of a taser would not be reasonable in enforcing a ‘move on direction’.

      Regular police officers and specialist officers connected to the Riot Squad or Tactical Operations Unit are permitted to use tasers in New South Wales. In NSW, tasers may only be carried and used by police officers in the course of their official responsibilities as law enforcement officers. This means that they cannot use a taser for personal use or outside their role as an officer.

      Section 7(1) of the Act sets out that a law enforcement officer will be guilty of a criminal offence of possess prohibited weapon if they use it unlawfully.

      Under NSW Police standard operating procedures, officers are able to deploy tasers at their own discretion after carefully assessing the situation and deciding if it is reasonably necessary.

      Tasers may be used for the following legitimate purposes such as:

      • protecting human life;
      • defending oneself or others from violent confrontation or resistance;
      • protecting an officer or officers who could be in danger of being overwhelmed; and
      • protecting people from animals.

      Are Tasers Legal in Victoria?

      Tasers are illegal in Victoria unless you have a permit. Tasers are classified as controlled weapons under Section 3 of the Control of Weapons Act 1990 and Schedule 2 of the Control of Weapons Regulations 2021.

      Section 6 of the Control of Weapons Act 1990 states that it is illegal to possess, carry, or use a restricted weapon without a valid reason. The maximum punishment for this is up to two years imprisonment or 240 penalty units.

      A person must receive an exemption under Section 8B of the Control of Weapons Act 1990 or Section 8C of the Control of Weapons Act 1990 to lawfully possess and/or carry a taser in Victoria.

      To get an approval, one must first submit an application. If the application is accepted, the applicant will be given permission to carry out any actions that are otherwise prohibited by Section 5 of the Control of Weapons Act 1990.

      Are Tasers Legal in South Australia?

      Tasers are illegal in South Australia under Section 21C of the Summary Offences Act 1953.

      Under Schedule 1 of the Summary Offences (Dangerous Articles and Prohibited Weapons) Regulations 2000, tasers are classified as dangerous weapons.

      The maximum punishment for possessing a taser in South Australia is imprisonment for 18 months or a fine of $7,500.

      Are Tasers Legal in Western Australia?

      In Western Australia, tasers are prohibited. The Weapons Act 1999 prohibits the use of tasers as weapons including the ownership, use, or sale of tasers. In Western Australia, the only permitted self-defense weapon is pepper spray.

      As to Section 6 of the Act, the maximum penalty consists of a fine of $36,000 and three years of imprisonment.

      Are Tasers Legal in Queensland?

      Tasers are illegal In Queensland unless you possess a Category R Weapons Licence pursuant to the Weapons Categories Regulation 1997.

      Not even all police personnel are permitted to carry a Taser in Queensland as it is an extremely restricted tool. Only officers on patrol and members of the Special Emergency Response Team are allowed to carry a taser. The rationale behind this is that they are skilled in evaluating circumstances to determine whether using a taser is the best course of action.

      Police officers may use tasers only after they have completed extensive training in risk assessment and safe handling. The M26 and X26 models of tasers are currently in use by Queensland police.

      Are Tasers Legal in the Australian Capital Territory?

      Tasers are illegal in the ACT under the Prohibited Weapons Act 1996. Under Part 1.4 of the Act, tasers are defined as, “hand-held or other electric device designed to administer an electric shock on contact, other than a piece of medical equipment or electric prod designed exclusively for use with animals.”

      Section 5 of the Act stipulates that the maximum penalty is 500 penalty units, five years imprisonment, or both.

      Are Tasers Legal in Tasmania?

      Tasers are illegal in Tasmania under the Firearms Regulations 2016. Tasers are classified as “stun guns” under Regulation 8, which makes them prohibited firearms.

      A ‘stun gun’ ““means a hand-held device, such as the weapon commonly known as a taser, that is designed or adapted to administer, either through direct contact or indirectly through something conductive fired from the device, an electric shock to a human being for the purpose of dazing, disorienting, incapacitating, subduing or injuring that human being.”

      The maximum punishment is a fine of 100 penalty units, up to two years imprisonment, or both.

      Are Tasers Legal in the Northern Territory?

      Tasers are illegal in the Northern Territory under the Northern Territory’s Weapons Control Regulations. Schedule 2 of the Regulations lists tasers as prohibited weapons as they are, “an article designed or adapted to emit an electric current into a human body for the purposes of incapacitation or injury.”

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