The Queensland Government today announced it will introduce new laws to Parliament to restrict the sale of knives and replica firearms to juveniles, in a bid to better protect the community and combat knife crime and youth offending.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said the proposed laws would see the sale of knives, certain other bladed items like machetes, axes, swords, and replica firearms (including gel blasters) to juveniles, become an offence.
“These laws will assist in keeping dangerous items out of the hands of young criminals, before violent offences can occur,” the Minister said.
“This will go hand in hand with the expansion of Jack’s Law, which is saving lives and reducing violence across Queensland every single day.”
Jack’s Law is the result of the dedicated advocacy of the Jack Beasley Foundation and Brett and Belinda Beasley (pictured, below) in reforming knife crime legislation, in honour of their 17-year-old son Jack, who was tragically fatally stabbed on the Gold Coast in 2019.
The Australian-first legislation allows police to use a handheld metal detecting wand in authorised locations to detect weapons, deter offending and protect the community.
“The advocacy from Brett and Belinda has been instrumental in putting Queensland on the map as nation-leading in the fight against knife crime,” said Minister Bailey.
“I extend our continued gratitude to them for everything the Jack Beasley Foundation does to educate the community on the dangers of carrying weapons.
“With 1,600 offences detected as part of wanding operations so far, there’s no doubt Jack’s Law is playing a significant part in keeping Queenslanders safe.”
Under the proposed legislation, any person attempting to use false identification to purchase one of these items could also be charged with an offence.
Retailers will be required to display signage regarding the prohibition of sales to juveniles and have obligations requiring secure storage for certain other bladed items like machetes, axes, swords, sickles, daggers, double-edged blades and spears.
To help curb the notoriety of weapon possession among young people, it will be prohibited for these items to be advertised in a violent manner or in a way that suggests they are ‘suitable for combat’.
The proposed laws follow research conducted by Queensland Police Service (QPS), including an assessment of crime statistics, and consideration of comparable legislative responses in Queensland including the restriction on the sale of spray paint to juveniles.
The proposed laws come as the QPS seize 350 weapons in the first six months of wanding operations under Jack’s Law.
More than 2,900 handheld scanner operations have been conducted since 30 March 2023, when Jack’s Law legislation was extended and expanded to all Safe Night Precincts, on public transport and at transport hubs.
During wanding operations more than 31,800 people have been scanned, resulting in 904 people being charged with almost 1,600 offences, mostly related to weapon and drug matters.
“These laws will be a step forward in enhancing how police can stop knife crime in its tracks and keep communities safe,” said Queensland Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Hart, Acting Commander Youth Crime Taskforce.
“It will allow officers to take action against those unlawfully selling weapons to young people, who may intend to use them to commit violent offences.
“With every wanding operation we see an opportunity to educate on the impacts of knife crime and intervene in the lives of those who are making the poor decision to carry a weapon.
“The results from Jack’s Law speak for themselves, and with further legislation restricting young people’s access to weapons – we’re confident we can continue to enhance community safety,” he said.
Brett Beasley said it was heartening to see that his son’s legacy lives on in the new Queensland Government measures.
“Belinda and I will always grieve for Jack, but it is very heartening to see that his legacy lives on,” he said.
“Six months after Jack’s Law came into effect it’s really encouraging to see that Police are using Jack’s legacy to undertake wanding operations right across the state.
“It’s clearly making a real difference in helping to keep communities safe.
“It’s also very gratifying to see the government take another significant step in relation to restricting the availability of weapons, especially to young people.
“Our work with Jack’s foundation will continue with its focus on educating young people about the dangers of carrying knives and other weapons.
“It’s great that the government is further supporting our work by making it harder for dangerous weapons to fall into the wrong hands.”