So the question of wheather a gel blaster is considered a firearm under the Western Australia firearms act comes up from time to time.
One of our customers also sent an email to weapons licencing asking if gel blasters were considered a firearm.
The response from weapons licencing in WA was fairly concerning.
"Gel-ball guns cannot be possessed in WA. They are classed as firearms and there are no provisions to possess or licence on. A person found in possession could be prosecuted.
Note, interstate legislation has no impact on WA legislation"
So this is the response given by weapons licencing in WA. At first, all of you blokes over there with gel blasters would assume that weapons licencing would know if an item is prohibited or not and you would assume that they are prohibited from that response.
One thing that I have learnt from my travels so far, is that the police force are not able to interpret legislation very well. On face value, they look at the legislation and it seems that they are right, have a look below.
"firearm includes any lethal firearm and any other weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged or propelled or which, by any alteration in the construction or fabric thereof, can be made capable of discharging or propelling any shot, bullet or other missile, but does not include anything that is prescribed in regulations under the Weapons Act 1999 to be a prohibited weapon or a controlled weapon"
Reading the above passage you would think that the police are correct and that gel blasters are covered by this legislation. However, the police are wrong and you would be too if you thought they were right.
You see, when Tactical Edge Hobbies went to court we discovered that the Word "other" is an interesting factor when interpreting the passage above.
the words "shot, bullet or other missile" are the main factors in determining a firearm. With our case, our barrister found that there is case law surrounding the rules when it comes to determining the meaning of these words. This is passed down from the high court so applies to all legislative interpretation decisions, this is Australia wide.
The rule is that the "other Missile" that you would think the gel ball is caught with, does not capture gel balls at all. The word that comes after the two preceding words cannot vary greatly from the original words.
In other words, "other missile" cannot just mean any old thing the police want it too. it has to be closely related to Shot and Bullet which we all know gel balls are not.
This is almost identical to the customs import regulations that we were able to win the decision back in December based on this interpretation.
The other interesting point is that the word, lethal is in there as well so I would like to see a Judge make a ruling against that.
In WA gel ball guns are not firearms full stop and weapons licencing is wrong on this one.
It just goes to show that the legislation needs a review. Even the guys trying to enforce the law don't know what the law is.
Thanks for reading, I have been promising an article on Airsoft and i will try to get that organised next week. I have just been flat chat.
This is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.