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The ACT Police Announce ban on gel blasters - is it unlawful????

The ACT Police Announce ban on gel blasters - is it unlawful????

So here is my take on the announcement made by the ACT police regarding gel blasters this week. 

I personally feel the ACT police have no right whatsoever to tell us that gel blasters are illegal or that they are banned or that you will be prosecuted for possessing one in any capacity. 

I think that Australians trust the government and their respective arms way too much and allow them to erode freedoms without any push back whatsoever. I also believe this is by design and the government likes Aussies that do what they are told. 

This last part of course is a completely different blog post. 

My take on the laws in ACT is that they are pretty much the same as they are in NSW. 

Here is the definition of a firearm according to  the Australian Capital Territory weapons ACT 1997; 

Meaning of firearm
(1) In this Act:
firearm—
(a) means a gun, or other weapon, that is, or at any time was, capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive force, however caused; and
(b) includes—
(i) a blank fire firearm; and
(ii) an airgun; and
(iii) a paintball marker; and
(iv) something declared to be a firearm under section 31; and
(v) a modified item; and
(vi) a firearm frame or firearm receiver that does not form part of a firearm.
(2) However, firearm does not include—
(a) something prescribed by regulation not to be a firearm; or
(b) something declared not to be a firearm under section 31.
(3) In this section:
modified item means something that would be a firearm if—
(a) it did not have something missing from it, or a defect or obstruction; or
(b) something had not been added to it.
So we can see that an Airgun is about the only thing that will catch a gel blaster under this definition. The definition of an Airgun is below. 
airgun means a firearm, other than a paintball marker, that—
(a) can propel, or is designed to propel, a projectile by means of—
(i) any gas or mixture of gases, including air but not including a gas or mixture of gases generated by an explosive; or
(ii) a spring; and
(b) is operated or designed for operation by means of a trigger or similar device.

This part of the legislation might indeed capture a gel blaster but then we go back to the old argument between NERF and Gel blasters and Airsoft. 

NERF would clearly be captured by this legislation. Are the ACT now going to ban the use and sale of NERF guns. it is after all a firearm under the definition. 

Or is it more appropriate that we have a look at the projectile and determine if it is considered ammunition or not. 

The definition of ammunition is below. 

ammunition—
(a) includes—
(i) a cartridge case fitted with a primer and projectile; and
(ii) a cartridge case fitted with a primer that contains a propelling charge and projectile; and
(iii) blank cartridges, airgun pellets, training cartridges or gas cartridges; and
(iv) anything else prescribed by regulation; but
(b) does not include—
(i) a paintball; or
(ii) something prescribed by regulation not to be ammunition.

Even a paintball does not Qualify as ammunition in this section. So it is a bit of a stretch to call it an Airgun and lets face it, this argument needs to be hashed out in court and a judge needs to decide if it is applicable or not.

Are you telling me that orbeez gel balls would be prescribed to be ammunition??? come on!

The final argument is that it is an imitation firearm. Here is the definition below.

imitation firearm
(a) means something that, regardless of its colour, weight or composition or the presence or absence of any moveable parts, substantially duplicates in appearance a firearm but is not a firearm; and
(b) includes something that the registrar declares to be an imitation firearm under section 31. 
(4) However, imitation firearm does not include—
(a) something that is produced and identified as a children’s toy; or
(b) something prescribed by regulation not to be an imitation firearm; or
(c) something declared not to be an imitation firearm under section 31.

There is clearly a provision for Children's toys in the legislation. 

The problem in my mind is that the public think that the Police have banned gel blasters in the ACT all of a sudden because the police say so. They have not proven that they are a firearm and that they are a prohibited item. They have not been to court and won an administrative decision.

They have simply told you you can't have something based on their interpretation of the law when they have no right to make that interpretation. 

Make of this what you want but it is probably time we stopped letting government bureaucrats tell us what to do. 

We didn't let them in QLD and now we enjoy our right to own a harmless toy and the police for the most part are very reasonable with us.  

Thanks for reading, please comment if you have anything further to add. I would like to see some legal minds get onto this and dig up some case law and show us how to win this battle. If we get enough support we might even look at taking legal action if there is an avenue to do so. 

Regards 

Peter Clark

 


8 comments


  • Wayne

    This country is just a joke. When you are on a par with countries like North Korea, Yemen, Syria, Honduras, Singapore, and Turkmenistan for restrictions you have to think that something might be wrong with your restrictions.
    I am so very proud of this nanny/police state, that doesnt trust its citizens with toys because they look like something else.
    The fact the government here just whittles away at anything that provides fun, exercise, stress relief, team work, mateship (apparently looked down on now) and potential new businesses and tourism opportunities. But no, lets make these toys illegal as they look like something our political agenda doesnt like and butthurts people who wouldnt play with them in any case.
    F*&$ this place. I am moving to our much more progressive and inclusive neighbour.
    This country will never get any closer in my lifetime. Aaron Stonehouse getting shutdown when trying to get these things allowed is proof enough of that I think.


  • SHawn

    Gel blasters are so fun, I wish people in other stats can started enjoying them ASAP.


  • Stacey Lamb

    If consequences were to dictate our course of action……


  • Gus

    The first two paragraphs of Section 31 of the Firearms Act allow the registrar to make a declaration that something is a firearm for a period of 3 months and this becomes enforceable as law in the ACT. I suspect that within the next three months, the Firearms Act will be amended to specifically include gel blasters (in a way similar to how it currently includes paintball markers). However, in the meantime, gel blasters are legally considered to be firearms here in the ACT.


  • Andrew

    I think there’s an aspect missing from the law – projectile purpose and design.

    First example: a standard hunting rifle. This is clearly a firearm and fires ammunition as described in the law. The purpose of a hunting firearm is to take down game. For that a projectile needs to be fired at speeds necessary to penetrate and impart sufficient energy to cause lethal damage to the target. For this purpose, hunting bullets are made of various solid metals and are designed (eg hollow points for controlled expansion) with this goal in mind.

    Second example: a gel blaster. The purpose is to allow people to safely shot at each other in a competitive setting. The velocities are much lower than a hunting rifle and the projectile itself is not made of a heavy and solid metal combination, instead being made of a lighter substance. A gel ball, being soaked with water, is not a good device for transferring energy into the target as the liquid component will soak up some of the kinetic energy released on impact. Also, as gels are spherical and not pointed like a hunting bullet, this will spread out any impact forces.

    The law seems incomplete if it equates lethal with non-lethal projectiles.


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