SWORDS will be outlawed from July under new laws to curb the growing use of the weapons in street brawls.
Police Minister Andre Haermeyer said the ban would help police overcome a culture of young people arming themselves with swords.
"For most people running around the street carrying swords there is absolutely no reason for them to be carrying those weapons," he said yesterday.
From July, anyone found possessing or selling a sword without a permit will face up to six months' jail and fines of up to $12,000.
Existing sword owners must surrender their weapons to police, sell them to a licensed dealer or apply to the Chief Commissioner for specific approval.
Collectors and people with legitimate cultural, religious or military reasons to own swords will be exempted from the ban, but must store them under lock and key and have a burglar alarm.
The sword ban follows a string of recent attacks and a regulatory impact statement undertaken by the State Government last year.
Last week, a 13-year-old boy was arrested and charged after allegedly charging police with a sword near Castlemaine, in central Victoria.
A 21-year-old man had his hand severed by a samurai sword in a confrontation between 40 men in the Fitzroy Gardens a fortnight ago -- the second brawl involving swords in 24 hours.
Huy Huynh, 19, was chased from the Salt nightclub and hacked to death nearby in July 2002 by a mob using samurai swords and machetes.
The new laws will make it illegal to sell swords to anyone who does not have a permit.
Sword sellers will have to keep a register of buyers' details and make it available for police to inspect.
Mr Haermeyer said groups such as highland dancers, historic re-enactment groups, bonafide collectors and people with family heirlooms could apply for an exemption from the licensing services branch of Victoria Police.
"Legitimate sword owners understand the importance of ensuring that their swords do not fall into the wrong hands," he said.
"The vast majority of the community would say, 'Look, there's no place for people just being able to go out there and buy these things and carry them around the street'."
Mr Haermeyer said the exact definition of a sword under the new regulations was still being considered.
He said machetes would remain a controlled weapon, requiring a person to have a legitimate reason for carrying them.
The Government is also looking at bans on some other weapons, such as crossbows, and greater restriction on the sale of prohibited and regulated weapons at weekend markets.
Mr Haermeyer warned that police would be actively hunting for knives and swords after being given new powers and 480 metal detectors late last year, allowing them to search people they reasonably suspected were carrying weapons.
Results of Gun Registration
TER-ROR-ISM noun 1 The act of terrorizing. 2 A system of government that seeks to rule by intimidation. Funk and Wagnalls New Practical Standard Dictionary (1946)