Gel blaster guns are air guns that fire small, non-lethal projectiles. They fire soft gel water-filled balls between 6-8mm at a low power, which groups gel blaster guns into the same category as BB guns or airsoft guns.
Air guns have varying designs and may resemble real prohibited weapons such as automatic assault rifles.
In Queensland, gel blaster and air guns are a major recreational industry with a revenue of $200 million annually. These gel blasters and air guns are replica firearms or toy guns. They are found in environments similar to paintball for ‘close quarters combat’ or ‘close quarters battle’. However, due to their increased popularity and availability over the last few years, since 2018, Police have taken action 100 times against people misusing gel blasters.
Following this, Queensland has recently made new laws requiring you to conceal replica firearms to supplement existing offences such as pointing a replica firearm at someone without consent.
In NSW, firearms laws are governed by the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW).
Possessing, obtaining or selling a prohibited firearm that is not registered without a valid licence or permit is illegal.
The NSW Police have also determined that a gel blaster is defined as an ‘air gun’, classified as a prohibited firearm, and ammunition is classified as gel balls.
Unlike Queensland, the definition of a firearm extends to ‘replica firearms’. This means that any ‘toy gun’ that resembles a real firearm such as a pistol, submachine gun or rifle is also deemed a prohibited firearm.
Therefore, it is illegal to possess a gel blaster gun, BB gun or airsoft gun in NSW in any manner regardless of whether they are safely stored, concealed, or not used.
A complete list of prohibited firearms is available here.
Since the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, the federal government and all states and territories of Australia unanimously decided to restrict the availability of prohibited firearms.
Despite this, replica weapons have only increased since 2018 and are often used in criminal offences such as kidnappings, breaking, entering and stealing, armed robberies and assaults.
One notable instance involving a gel blaster is a man who pointed his gel blaster gun at Police. The sergeant whom it was pointed at made a split-second decision to draw his weapon and fire at the man. Luckily, another officer saved the man, who recognised that it was a gel blaster gun.
If you own an air gun, you have two options to avoid a criminal charge:-
NSW also employs a firearms amnesty if a person surrenders their firearm correctly. You may find details here.
It is a serious offence to possess a prohibited firearm without an appropriate licence and/or permit.
There have been some legitimate cases of ignorance involving the regulation of firearms. On the other hand, some have been successful in defending firearms charges relating to airguns. They are often complex and require thoroughly examining your knowledge and intention. Therefore, it is vital that you obtain proper legal advice if you are charged with this offence.