There are so many questions that come up when it comes to Gel Blasters and how they fit into the legal frameworks in Australia.
I am going to try to explain some of the facts that I know from the Past year of fighting with Customs, the Attorney Generals Department and also the Queensland police.
The first thing I will say is that the general police officer on the street will deem a gel blaster as being an illegal Firearm. From state to state this will vary in severity and from officer to officer, they will either be ok with them but still unsure, or they will freak out.
What is pretty consistent across the board is that in general, the police do not really know if a Gel Blaster is legal or not and this varies from state to state as well.
I sincerely do not believe this is the fault of the police or that the police are ignorant or anything like that. What I do believe is that the firearms laws in Australia are so convoluted and broad, that there is no body who really knows what the law is on certain items on any given day.
This is the reason that law abiding firearms owners are always complaining about the laws. It is not necessarily that semi Autos have been all but taken away. It is the fact that anytime you breathe the word firearm, someone comes out with a new useless law or someone is accused of trying to undermine John Howards gun laws.
The fact is, there are several pieces of legislation that govern what a gel blaster is according to the law. One of them is the customs (prohibited) import regulations and the others are each state and territories firearms act. So we are looking at 9 different pieces of legislation and 9 different definitions of firearm and 9 different interpretations of the way a product appears. There is also 9 different ways that replicas are treated under all of these acts.
I am no expert on the laws of each state or territory; however, I am fairly well versed with the Customs Import regulations and the QLD firearms Act.
The Customs import regs is clear, a fire arm is a device that discharges Shot, Bullet or other projectiles. Most people would think that the word öther" can mean anything. However, the courts disagreed with this and ruled that other must mean something similar to Shot or Bullet. (You can read my previous post for more details on this). Of course gel balls are not ammunition and therefor a blaster is not a firearm.
Customs are now saying that a gel ball gun is an imitation firearm. They are not negotiable on this and they require an import permit to release the goods into the custody of any citizen of any state. This is the Law and they are correct.
QLD police is a less difficult one. A firearm must be able to cause Death or injury according to the QLD firearms act. As a gel ball is unable to cause injury it is deemed as a toy and therefor is legal in the state of QLD. There is literally no more to it than that. .
I would argue that Airsoft does not meet the definition of a firearm in the state of QLD simply because it is unable to Cause injury! Before you start disagreeing with me on this point think about the precedent set in our case vs Customs. Other cannot just mean anything, just as the word "injury" cannot mean just anything. It is called the ejusdem generis rule.
From state to state you will find that the definitions differ. I would love to hear from anyone who has any further information regarding each states legislation and how they think Gel blasters would be categorised.
I am definitely sure that in WA, Gel blasters are definitely not classed as a firearm as their definition is almost identical to the customs definition. The replica issue I really don't have a clue about.
At the end of the day, gel blasters are Legal in QLD and you need a permit to get them through at the border. If the police catch you with one in your car in QLD they may try to ping you, but you will not be charged with an offence for possession of these products.
I am going to try to get a State by state post up on this blog as I get more information on each of the definitions. Brad from Armoured heaven is getting close to testing the NSW laws so that one will be worth keeping an eye on.
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook. Next week I will do an article on airsoft and the differences between them and gel ball. I will also talk about how I believe we can make a huge step into legalising Airsoft.
Thanks for reading,
Tactical Edge Hobbies