Gel Blasters Deemed 'Firearms' By Australian Government

Luke C.
by Luke C.
Gel Blasters Deemed “Firearms” in Australia According to Government

In a baffling bit of twitter news, I came across this curious post in which a Tasmanian resident received a letter that his Gel Blaster was considered a firearm and would have to be confiscated because the owner did not possess a firearms license. The owner of the Gel Blasters was told that the toy would have to be surrendered to the Tasmania Police.

Gel Blasters Deemed "Firearms" in Australia According to Government

Gel Blasters Deemed “Firearms” in Australia According to Government

Gel Blasters are very similar to bb guns in that they fire small projectiles, however, instead of 6mm hard plastic BBs, Gel Blasters shoot 6-8mm polymer water beads. The Beads themselves are commonly made from sodium polyacrylate at sporting goods stores in Australia, however, they are also commonly found in gardening stores as moisture retainers for potting plants.

The beads themselves absorb water and retain it for a period of time before eventually shrinking and draining off their excess absorbed water. The projectiles are fired using an electronic firing mechanism. Personally, I couldn’t imagine any person in their right mind thinking that a Gel Blaster is in any way shape or form dangerous. For a good example of what I’m talking about, check out the YouTube video below.

I consulted one of our resident discord moderators who is an Australian resident to see if he could give me any local insight as to why these obviously harmless toys are considered firearms by any stretch of the imagination. In his words, they are firearms “just because the government decided that they are.”

Gel blasters are commonly made to look like real wold firearms much in the same way airsoft guns are. This realistic appearance leads to criminals buying blasters in order to use them in robberies in order to intimidate their victims.

A pair of Gel Blasters mimicking an HK416 and a Bushmaster ACR

According to my source, who lives in the Australian Capital Territory, Gel blasters were never legal in that state, to begin with, and the toys are only legal in Queensland, Tasmania, and until recently, New South Wales.

In fact, a toy shop owner in New South Wales, Brad Towner, who owns a shop called Armoured Heaven recently won a 3-year court battle against the New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions. The court battle in which Brad Towner (the owner) was charged with 66 counts of unlicensed firearms dealing could have put the shop owner behind bars if the charges found him guilty.

Thankfully, Brad Towner, had all the charges dropped on all 66 counts and he is back in business, however, he is focusing more on encouraging a more healthy attitude towards gel blasters as there are still many clubs that surround the toys and even more individuals that enjoy the hobby itself.

Luke C.
Luke C.

Reloader SCSA Competitor Certified Pilot Currently able to pass himself off as the second cousin twice removed of Joe Flanigan. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ballisticaviation/

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  • Martin Grnsdal Martin Grnsdal on Aug 23, 2020

    this reminds me of airport security in Oslo, Norway, that took away a water gun from a child.

  • FarmerB FarmerB on Aug 27, 2020

    The state of New South Wales (Australia) is now proposing an amendment to their firearms laws:
    "Schedule 1[3] makes it an offence (with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 20 years) for a person to knowingly take part in the manufacture of a firearm or firearm part knowing that the manufacture of the firearm or firearm part is not authorised by a licence or permit under the principal Act. The term takes part includes the possession of a firearm precursor for the purposes of manufacturing a firearm or firearm part. A firearm precursor is defined as any object, device, substance, material or document used or capable of being used in the process of manufacturing a firearm or firearm part (including computer software or plans). The offence will apply regardless of whether a firearm or firearm part is actually manufactured"
    So ANYTHING that can be used to make a firearm is 20 years in slammer. Digital CNC and 3D printer codes for firearm parts are already "prohibited weapons".
    So, get your "computer software" and encrypt it, you say? Well, they have that covered too: "[act] authorises a police officer to seize and detain any firearm, firearm part or firearm precursor (including a computer or data storage device on which a firearm precursor is held or contained) that may provide evidence of the commission of the new offence and to require persons to provide assistance or information in accessing the information (including a password or code) held or contained in the thing seized." No 5th amendment there.
    Oh, and if they don't think you should possess a firearm, they have a thing called "Firearm Prohibition Orders" which ban you from owning a firearm. Penalty for breaching = 14 years in jail if found with a ANY PART of a pistol or pistol ammo. Oh, and they can detain you, search you, search any property or search any location you're at - without warrant, at any time. This is already law.

    Remember "reasonable gun control". Beautiful.

    • See 1 previous
    • FarmerB FarmerB on Aug 29, 2020

      @Tassiebush Apparently the MO to use these things in NSW is that the police issue an FPO on somebody (no judicial involvement), turn up at the door to serve the FPO, then invoke the search powers of the FPO and search your premises. Effectively no warrant involvement at all...

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