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Buying and Selling Knives – Offences and Obligations on Buyers, Sellers and Employees in Queensland

Potts Lawyers > Criminal Law & Offences  > Buying and Selling Knives – Offences and Obligations on Buyers, Sellers and Employees in Queensland

Buying and Selling Knives – Offences and Obligations on Buyers, Sellers and Employees in Queensland

In a bid to curb weapon-related crime and youth delinquency in Queensland, the new Summary Offences (Prevention of Knife Crime) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2024 (the Act) was assented to by Parliament and will commence on a day to be fixed.

The objective of the Act is to advance essential reforms designed to promote community safety, reduce youth offending and minimise the risks associated with knives and other dangerous items. In doing so, it introduces new provisions to the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 and Summary Offences Act 2005 imposing strict regulations on buyers and sellers of “controlled items” with a view to prevent the illicit sale of knives and other contraband to children.

The Act will not just affect kids looking to buy knives and spray paint; but any individual involved with selling these items, including commercial sellers and employees. As at 8 April 2024, the Act is not yet in force. However, once commenced, it will impose positive obligations on sellers. To avoid facing unwanted fines and criminal convictions, sellers should familiarise themselves and their employees with the new provisions far in advance of their commencement.

What is a Controlled Item?

Under the Act, “controlled items” include knives (bar plastic or wooden knives designed for eating, butter knives and cheese knives), swords, sickles, spear and spear guns, replicas of firearms under the Weapons Act 1990 and any other item categorised as a “controlled item” under Queensland legislation.

Can I Buy a Controlled Item?

If you are a person under the age of 18 (a minor), the Act will prohibit you from buying any controlled item. If you are a minor who falsely presents as a person over the age of 18 for the purposes of being sold a controlled item, you will be guilty of an offence under the Act punishable by a fine.

In contrast, if you are not a minor, you should be able to purchase a controlled item.  However, new age restrictions mean that if you look under 25, you may be required to provide an acceptable form of identification (I.D.) to the vendor on purchase.

What Can Police Do?

The Act grants police the power to enforce the ban on the sale of controlled items to minors. Under the Act, if an officer witnesses a minor being sold a controlled item or spray paint, or suspects that they may have, they can require the buyer to present a valid form of I.D and the purchased product. If the buyer cannot prove they are of age, or if they provide evidence to the contrary, officers will be able to seize the product and then potentially charge them, and the seller, with an offence.

Can I Sell a Controlled Item?

Alongside it being illegal to buy a controlled item as a minor, it will also be an offence to sell a controlled item to a minor in most circumstances. Persons engaged in the sale of controlled items to the public in trade or commerce (“commercial sellers”) or selling controlled items in the course of their employment (“employees”) will be particularly vulnerable to offending under this provision.

If a minor produces an I.D purporting that they are over 18, and the seller did not have a reason to suspect that this document was fake, they may have a defence to the charge. If the I.D offered was not of an acceptable form, or the seller had reason to believe the I.D was fraudulent, the defence will not apply.

What If My Employees Sell Controlled Items For Me?

The Act imposes educatory, advertisement and safe storage obligations on commercial sellers selling controlled items. Under the Act, it will be an offence for commercial sellers who are also employers to fail to:

  • instruct their employees not to sell controlled items to minors; and
  • instruct their employees to verify the age of purchasers unless they are certain that the individual is an adult; and
  • warn their employees that disregarding these instructions constitutes an offence; and
  • obtain written confirmation from each employee that they have acknowledged these warnings.

Failure to comply with these provisions may result in a fine and conviction, with increasing penalties for repeat offenders.

Do I Need to Advertise the Prohibition?

Under the Act, commercial sellers will be required to display signs indicating the prohibition of the sale of controlled items to minors.

If controlled items are not displayed instore, signs must be visible at each sales counter. If controlled items are displayed, signs may also be hung by each display.

All signs must comply with requirements prescribed by regulation.

How Should I Store Controlled Items?

If you are a commercial seller storing any of the following items at your store:

  • a dagger with a double-edged blade;
  • a knife with a blade at each end;
  • a sword, machete or axe;
  • a sickle or scythe;
  • a spear gun or spear; or
  • an item that is a “bladed item” under regulation,

it will be an offence to fail to securely store them.

“Secure storage” includes storing items in a locked room, cage, cabinet or container, or securely tethering them except when in physical possession of them. Failure to comply with these provisions may result in a fine and conviction.

How Do I Ensure Compliance With The Act?

All parties, including buyers, commercial sellers and their employees will need to ensure they are adequately educated on the implications of the Act before its commencement.

If you have been charged with an offence under this section, contact our Brisbane criminal lawyers at (07) 3221 4999 for immediate assistance.




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