Swordcraft and the Law
THE FOLLOWING RELATES TO VICTORIA (OTHER STATES MAY DIFFER)
YOUR LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
The following is a short summary of the basis on which you can legally own and use your swordcraft weapons and armour.
In any dealings with police, you should always adopt a polite, courteous and co-operative manner. If police wish to examine any of your equipment, you should co-operate at all times. If police wish to confiscate any of your equipment, you should hand it over and and then seek its return through proper channels.
Under no circumstances should you even use your swordcraft foam weapons in a threatening manner towards the police or any member of the public. Doing so may result in you committing a criminal offence.
Body armour is a controlled item in Victoria. However, happily, the armour generally worn at swordcraft (western and eastern martial arts, re-enactment, SCA, and larp style medieval and fantasy armour) do not fall within the definition of body armour because it is not for protection against real firearms.
Under the Control of Weapons Act 1990 (Vic), controlled “body armour” is defined as any garmet that protects you from weapons AND which satisfies the criteria in the Control of Weapons Regulations 2011 (see below).
Extract from the Control of Weapons Regulations 2011 (Vic)
6 Body armour
For the purposes of paragraph (b) of the definition of body armour in section 3(1) of the Act, a garment or item that is designed, intended or adapted for the purpose of protecting the body from the effects of a firearm is prescribed to be body armour.
Foam larp weapons do not fall within the definition of any of the weapons listed in Schedule 2 of the Control of Weapons Regulations 2011 (Vic). Broadly because they are not designed as weapons which is a requirement under the Act and regulations. Foam larp weapons are also not prohibited weapons under the Control of Weapons Act 1990.
Firearms and imitation firearms are prohibited weapons in Victoria and their possession and use requires a firearms licence. Bandguns are an imitation firearm, however, if the bandgun you use at Swordcraft is an imitation of pre-1900 muzzle loading firearm it is exempt and no licence is required (see attached exemption).
Bandguns (not legal advice…)
One thing that is really important when making or buying a bandgun is that it look like a pre-1900 muzzle loading firearm (and in our case pre-1600 muzzle loading). This is required for them to be exempt from the firearms licencing requirements.
To assist this, we strongly recommend that you have a photo of the antique pistol/arquebus/musket which the bandgun is modeled off. Given Swordcraft is set pe-1600 – it is even better to use as model an a match-lock or wheel-lock long arm or pistol.
You can then refer the police/court to the photo if challenged on whether you need a firearms licence or not. The shape and size of the bandgun should be a reasonable copy of the model.
For starters, and while not being an expert on firearms, our rough look indicates that the stock on antique muzzle loading pistols tend to be very chunky and somewhere between 0 and 45 degrees from the horizontal, while the stock on modern firearms tends to be much slimmer and between 45 and 90 degrees from the horizontal. This is obviously not a definitive analysis but provides some guidance…
Swordcraft also requires the following:
- When in a public place (other than during our events) bandguns must be carried in a bag or case and not be visible to the public. Any player who is reported as not complying with this requirement (even if outside our events) may be warned or given a yellow card (suspended from SC) or red card (banned from SC).
- All bandguns must have either a matchlock or wheel lock (pre-1600 as required in the rules) arrangement affixed to the weapon in a prominent manner. It must be obvious when looking at the weapon that this is the case. Speak to the SC weapons checkers if you are not sure what this means or refer to examples like:
Separately, multi-barreled bandguns are permitted provided you can show an historical example. SC reserves the right to review their operation, impact on the game, and continued use. Multi-barreled long arms will also require a mounting pole/stand or wheeled carriage.
Crossbows are a prohibited weapon in Victoria. To use a crossbow in Swordcraft you must have the appropriate licence (and it must also be a low powered one as per our rules).