17 July, 2021
MP backs QLD's stance on gel blasters
Hinchinbrook MP, Nick Dametto believes that Queensland’s measured approach to gel blasters is setting the tone for the rest of Australia to follow.
Dametto believes the draconian measures outlawing or severely restricting what he describes as a toy is limiting “fun, freedom and a fair go.”
Gel blasters are replica firearms that shoot water-filled gel balls.
Mr Dametto said that that gel blasters were basically a toy, not a weapon, and only weak-willed politicians unwilling to be reasonable would seek to suggest otherwise.
In May this year a 48-year-old man in Logan was shot by police whilst holding a replica firearm. The man was ‘agitated’, threatening self harm and was holding a woman as hostage inside his unit.
The man was shot in the lower body when he opened his unit door and pointed the firearm at police.
Opponents of gel blasters believe these replica firearms can cause trauma to victims of crime due to their realistic appearance.
Cairns police charged two men with assault and animal cruelty after an alleged drive-by shooting with a gel blaster last year.
The pair allegedly pointed the weapon at a member of the public.
In Queensland, gel blasters are considered a ‘replica firearm’ which is not classified as a firearm or category of weapon but rather a restricted item.
Replica firearms do not require a licence or need to be registered with Weapons Licensing.
However there are strict rules around the use, storage and carriage of gel blasters due to their likeness to real firearms. For example:
- When not in use, gel blasters must be stored securely, such as in a locked cupboard or a bag, but not necessarily in a gun safe;
- When being transported, a gel blaster has to be out of sight, for example, in the boot of a car or in a bag that does not silhouette a firearm (ie does not form an apparent shape of a firearm).
- All replica firearms, even if they are not functioning firearms, are captured as restricted items.
“The gel blaster community in Queensland is doing a brilliant job in providing a fun, recreational activity across our state backed by reasonable Queensland legislation,” Mr Dametto said.
The West Australian government banned gel blasters in July this year, citing concerns the toy guns look too much like real firearms.
In announcing the ban, Police Minister Paul Papalia warned a 'tragedy was just waiting to happen' due to similarities between gel blasters and real guns, making it impossible for police officers to spot the difference out in the field.
IN WA last year there were 147 police callouts to get blaster related incidents.