Ban on knife sales to be brought forward by Qld govt
Fraser Barton |
Laws that ban the sale of knives and replica firearms to minors will be brought forward by the Queensland government.
Premier Steven Miles announced on Monday his government will seek to legislate the changes as soon as possible in response to ongoing youth crime issues.
The legislative reforms were initially proposed in November and would make it an offence to sell knives, certain other bladed items and replica firearms, including gel blasters, to anyone under 18.
But further reforms announced by Mr Miles and Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll, after the police chief addressed cabinet on Monday, will bring forward their implementation and enforce a “drop dead” date.
“All of these actions fit within our broader framework of preventing, intervening and detaining where necessary,” Mr Miles said.
“If we can stop the sale of a weapon to a young person, then we will have prevented a crime.”
Retailers can begin banning sales of knives and replica firearms when the laws are passed, Police Minister Mark Ryan said.
“Any retailer which chooses to commence those knife sale restrictions immediately will be supported by the law to do so,” said Mr Ryan.
“But we’ll have a drop dead date as soon as possible … we need to ensure that industry can be as best prepared as they can.”
The maximum offence of possession of a weapon in public will increase from 12 to 18 months imprisonment for a first offence, increasing from 18 months to two years imprisonment for the second offence.
The proposed new knife laws follow the introduction of ‘Jacks Law’ in 2023, created after the stabbing death of 17-year-old Jack Beasley on the Gold Coast in 2019.
That expanded legislation allows police to use personal metal detectors or ‘wands’ to search people in so-called ‘Safe Night Precincts’ as well as on public transport.
The commissioner conceded wanding laws are an extraordinary power to wield but they have also asked the government to consider expanding them to shopping centres.
Ms Carroll said it is in response to police already identifying youths with weapons at shopping centres, and kids en route to them from public transport hubs.
“We do not want to just wand every shopping centre, we need evidence to say what is happening in that shopping centre – we need to be there with this power.
The proposed knife and replica firearm laws will be considered by the LNP opposition, deputy leader Jarrod Bleijie said.
But he indicated the government should look further into addressing youth crime issues when parliament resumes on Tuesday.
“The reality is the government could do a lot more this week, not just expand things they’ve already been doing,” he told reporters.
“Steven Miles has been hiding under a rock for six days, I would have thought he would have come up today with concrete, solid proposals and plans to legislate, and he hasn’t.”
The prevention of knife crime bill is expected to be debated when parliament convenes for the first time this year from Tuesday.AAP