This information is provided as the laws for possession and use of crossbows vary from state to state and between New Zealand and Australia.
The following information is correct as of 13 February 2016.
Archers wishing to use crossbows:
- Need to know their state laws on possession and use of crossbows.
- Must carry a copy of any required permits at all times, while in possession of, carrying or using, a crossbow.
- Must check state laws on the possession and use of crossbows when traveling interstate.
Regardless on the mundane legal ability to use crossbows, SCA Ltd's insurance policy prohibits the use of crossbows on moving targets (including people), or while mounted, in all parts of Australia.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Crossbows are a prohibited weapon under the Prohibited Weapons Act 1996 and Prohibited Weapons Regulations 1997, and a permit is required to own, possess or use a crossbow. Any individual without a permit may not have physical possession of, or use, a crossbow.
An individual's ability to acquire a permit to own or use a crossbow in the Australian Capital Territory is entirely independent of membership or participation in the SCA.
The requirements for a permit mean the applicant must be a member of one of five approved archery clubs:
- Canberra Archery Club Incorporated
- Canberra Bowhunters Club Incorporated
- Capital Field Archers
- Tuggeranong Archery Club Incorporated
- Weston Valley Archery Club Incorporated.
The SCA is not an approved club in its own right.
Crossbows may only be used for the purpose of participating in competitions conducted by or in association with one of those clubs, so SCA events involving the use of crossbows will need to be done in association with one of them. This already happens with target archery events in ACT.
You must be the age of 18 years or older to own a crossbow, you must be 16 years or older to use a crossbow.
An individual may apply to the Australian Federal Police for a permit to use, carry or have possession of a crossbow.
At this stage we believe that ACT does NOT recognise permits from other states. Members who hold a crossbow permit from another state, but not ACT may not bring crossbows into ACT, nor transit through ACT with a crossbow in their possession.
New South Wales (NSW)
Crossbows are prohibited weapons under the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 and the Weapons Prohibition Regulation 2009.
An individual's ability to acquire a permit to own or use a crossbow in New South Wales is entirely independent of membership or participation in the SCA.
Historical re-enactment purposes is NOT a legitimate reason for owning a crossbow in New South Wales. Unless SCA Ltd becomes an affiliated with Archery Australia or its regional governing body in New South Wales, membership with SCA Ltd does NOT qualify our members to apply for a permit to own or use crossbows for sporting purposes. Membership with SCA Ltd also does NOT qualify our members to apply for a permit to own a crossbow as a collector in New South Wales.
New South Wales does NOT recognise permits from other states. Members who hold a crossbow permit from another state, but not NSW, may not bring crossbows into NSW, nor transit through New South Wales with a crossbow in their possession.
A Prohibited Weapons Re-enactment Event Permit specifically states that sporting or collector permit holders cannot use the weapon at an event, only display it, so is not suitable for our purposes.
Northern Territory (NT)
Crossbows are controlled weapons under the Weapons Control Act.
No licence or other authority is required to possess and use crossbows in the Northern Territory. However, a person under 18 years of age must not possess, carry or use a crossbow.
If SCA activities are planned for a public place (or at a school) please notify the Firearms Policy & Records Unit in advance so that Police are aware of the event. By doing this the reasonable & lawful excuse provisions will have been pre-established, which should prevent any response on the day.
Lawful excuse includes sport and recreation, and legitimate collection, display and exhibition.
Crossbows are regulated weapon under the Weapons Act 1990.
Ownership of a crossbow requires a Category M licence. Physical possession and use of crossbows requires a licence, unless the person is under the supervision of a licence holder.
The SCA Ltd is recognised by Queensland Police as an approved organisation for the purposes of crossbow licences.
The police will recognise interstate licences if the person who owns the crossbow is not a resident of Queensland. If they move permanently to Queensland, they will have apply for a Queensland licence.
Crossbows can only be shot on an approved range. Any event that wishes to have crossbow shooting will need to apply for an approved range status. This can be either permanent or temporary (which is useful for war events). This is a complex process and requires the site to be visited by the weapons bureau to check the safety of the site. The application must include a letter from the local council that they have no objection to the site being used.
Individuals who do not have a licence may use crossbows at an approved range, if they provide the range officer with photographic identification, and sign and date a form providing name, date of birth and residential address, declaring that the person is a licensee or not an excluded person.
Minors who are at least 11 years of age may hold and use a crossbow under the direct supervision a range office, or their parent, guardian or person acting as parent or guardian if licensed.
South Australia (SA)
Crossbows are a prohibited weapon under the Summary Offences Act 1953.
Possession and use of crossbows requires an individual to be participating in a lawful and recognised form of recreation or sport that reasonably requires the use or possession of the weapon. Fortunately, target archery in the SCA is a legitimate form of recreation.
Crossbows cannot be supplied to any person under 18 years of age.
Crossbows are a restricted weapon under the Police Offences Act 1935.
A person may not use, carry or have possession of a crossbow unless they are authorised in writing by the Commissioner of Police to do so.
For sport and target shooting, you must be a current member of an approved shooting organisation that conducts competitions or activities involving crossbows. To collect, show and exhibit crossbows, you must belong to a bona fide club and show paperwork relating to same when seeking authorisation.
13 Feb 2016 – we are currently investigating whether the SCA Ltd can be an approved shooting organisation or is a bona fide club for collection and exhibition purposes.
Currently, an individual's ability to acquire a permit to own or use a crossbow in Tasmania is entirely independent of membership or participation in the SCA.
At this stage we believe that Tasmania does NOT recognise permits from other states. Members who hold a crossbow permit from another state, but not Tasmania, may not bring crossbows into Tasmania.
Crossbows are a prohibited weapon under the Control of Weapons Act 2000.
Historical re-enactment purposes is NOT a legitimate reason for owning a crossbow in Victoria. Unless SCA Ltd becomes an affiliated with Archery Australia or its regional governing body in Victoria, membership with SCA Ltd does NOT qualify our members to own or use crossbows for sporting purposes. Membership with SCA Ltd also does NOT qualify our members to own a crossbow as a collector in Victoria.
Victoria does NOT recognise permits from other states. Members who hold a crossbow permit from another state, but not Victoria, may not bring crossbows into Victoria, nor transit through Victoria with a crossbow in their possession.
Western Australia (WA)
Crossbows are a prohibited weapon under the Weapons Regulations 1999.
Possession and use of crossbows is prohibited within Western Australia unless you have a notice in writing from the Minister for Police stating you are an Exempt Arbalest.
To obtain this notice you needed to have been a member of Archery Australia (Inc) and possessed a crossbow for the purposes of taking part in crossbow events or competitions before 1 July 2011.
Essentially, no new permits will be issued for Exempt Arbalests in Western Australia.
A person without an exemption may not use a crossbow, even under supervision of an Exempt Arbalest.
At this stage we believe that Western Australia does NOT recognise permits from other states. Members who hold a crossbow permit from another state, but not Western Australia, may not bring crossbows into Western Australia.
Crossbows and other bows and arrows are offensive weapons under the Crimes Act 1961. Bow and arrows should only be carried or used for a lawful, proper and sufficient purpose, for example archery competition, practice or hunting.