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Public consultation on electromagnetic weapons

Closing date

Strengthening import controls on electromagnetic weapons

The Australian Government is committed to keeping Australia’s firearms laws among the most effective in the world. Regulation of the importation of firearms maintains the safety of all Australians by ensuring that only those with a genuine reason can access a firearm.

The licensing, possession and use of firearms within Australia is a matter for the states and territories. The Australian Government is responsible for the importation of firearms into Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs seeks feedback on proposed import controls​ on electromagnetic weapons which would allow importation of these weapons for official purposes only. The proposed controls​ would allow government agencies to examine the weapons, ensuring their control is reasonable and proportionate to community risk, but would not allow them to be imported for civilian use.

The proposed changes would be implemented through amendments to the Customs (P​​​rohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.

The proposed import controls are necessary as powerful electromagnetic weapons are currently in development overseas and they could be exported to Australia before the end of this calendar year.

​These weapons:

  • are hand-held
  • fire silently, and
  • can use improvised ammunition available in any hardware shop.​

With recommended ammunition, these weapons fire a projectile with enough kinetic energy to wound and possibly kill.

States and territories do not uniformly or consistently control these weapons. If not detained at the Australian border, these weapons will be very hard to contain once they are in circulation.

Request for public submissions

The Department has released a consultation paper on the proposed reforms for public comment. Please send submissions on the paper to Public submissions will be accepted until 11:59PM on 10 November 2021.​