Laser pointers can be handy tools for various uses, including teaching, controlling pests, and playing with pets.
However, these tiny devices are a bit of a hot topic in Australia, with strict laws on their importation, strength, and usage.
Many people have gotten into trouble for using laser pointers in Australia, so this begs the question: are laser pointers legal in Australia?
Laser pointers are legal in Australia, but only those that have outputs of 1mW or less. Laser pointers of over 1mW are considered prohibited weapons and require a permit to possess. But no matter the output, you are required to have a reasonable excuse for using it in public, like astronomy or teaching.
Are laser pointers legal in Australia?
The quick answer is yes! A battery-operated, hand-held laser pointer is legal to own.
But the fine print reads: only if it has an output of 1mW or below, and if you have a reasonable excuse for bringing it to a public place.
The first part of the fine print is pretty easy to abide by – just buy a laser pointer that’s 1mW or less.
For the second part, there is no strict definition of a reasonable excuse, but some good examples include:
- You need the laser pointer for astronomy.
- You need the laser pointer for teaching or lecturing.
However, these excuses only apply to times when the laser pointer is going to be used. You can’t just bring one around all the time for no reason, even if you’re a professional teacher.
If you’re found to have a laser pointer in your possession with no reasonable excuse, you can be penalized with either a fine of up to $5,500 or up to 2 years of imprisonment.
Police are also allowed to request you to submit to a frisk search if they suspect you have a laser pointer without a reasonable excuse, and they can confiscate the laser if it’s found to be above the 1mW limit.
To avoid getting into trouble, always make sure of the following:
- Your laser pointer is 1mW or less.
- If it’s above 1mW, make sure you have a permit to possess.
- Always have a reasonable excuse for using the laser pointer in a public space.
- Never point it into anyone’s eyes, at aircraft, or into the sky.
Laser pointers are cool, but because of their potential to harm, you have to be responsible when using them!
Are 5mW laser pointers legal in Australia?
All laser pointers with outputs above 1mW are considered prohibited weapons.
This means you run the risk of getting fined or jailed unless you have a permit to possess your laser pointer – and that’s only if you’re buying the laser pointer from within Australia.
If you try to order high-powered laser pointers from abroad without a permit to import, you could get into trouble with the Australian Customs Service.
In general, we recommend sticking to 1mW laser pointers to avoid going through the trouble of applying for permits.
Are Wicked laser pointers legal in Australia?
Unfortunately, most Wicked lasers are well above the 1mW limit that is allowed for non-permit weapons. This makes them illegal to import to Australia unless you have a permit for importing Schedule 13 weapons from the Australian government.
Many users have reported that even trying to import high-powered lasers without a permit have gotten them warnings from the Australian Customs Service. Most high-powered laser imports are simply destroyed with a warning to the person who ordered them – but if you’re not lucky, you may get fined or even jailed for trying to import a prohibited weapon.
So if you’re intent on buying a high-powered laser pointer, we recommend you get a permit to possess and a permit to import, and then order from a reputable manufacturer.
How do I get a permit to possess a laser pointer in Australia?
If you want to get a laser pointer with an output of above 1mW, you will need to get a permit to possess it from the Australian government.
Laws and requirements typically depend on the state or territory you live in However, you typically have to fill out an application form and provide documents that support your reason for possessing a high-powered laser pointer.
New South Wales has some of the strictest laser pointer laws, and it has the following requirements for all laser pointers with outputs of more than 1mW:
- Prohibited Weapons Permit P638
- Prohibited Weapon Laser Pointer Permit Genuine Reason Form
- Business Declaration (if you are applying for a business permit)
To figure out what requirements you need to fulfill, we recommend contacting your local police department.
How do I get a permit to import a laser pointer to Australia?
If you want to import a laser pointer with an output of more than 1mW, you will have to apply using the B710 Form or the Application for Permission to Import Schedule 13 Weapons. This permit is good for one importation and is usually valid for six months after it is granted.
To import a laser pointer of above 1mW, you will need to follow these steps:
- Get a permit to possess a high-powered laser pointer in your state/territory.
- Fill out the B710 Form or the Application for Permission to Import Schedule 13 Weapons.
- Compile any supporting documents that they might ask for, including:
- A copy of your license or permit to possess, use, and/or deal in laser pointers in your State/Territory.
- Documentation to support your claim of legitimate use of the laser pointer.
- Submit the B710 form and the supporting documents to [email protected].
- Wait for your permit to import to be granted.
- Once you have your permit to import, order your laser pointer.
NOTE: don’t order your laser pointer until you have your permit!
If it arrives in Australia without a permit, it will be destroyed, and you may get fined or jailed.
Only laser pointers with outputs of 1mW or less are legal to import, own, and use without a permit in Australia. And even then, you need a reasonable excuse for using one in a public space.
For laser pointers with outputs of above 1mW, you will need to get a permit to possess. The requirements depend on the state or territory you live in, so we recommend contacting your local police department for guidance.
And if you want to import laser pointers with outputs of above 1mW, you will also need to get a permit to import before ordering from abroad. So if you want to order a high-powered Wicked laser, we recommend getting the necessary permits to avoid getting into trouble.
Whether you settle for a 1mW laser pointer or decide to import a high-powered one, we hope this article helped you figure out the legalities of owning laser pointers in Australia!
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.