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30 April, 2021

Gel blasters come with great responsibilities

THE founder and president of the Cairns Gel Blasters Club Inc (CGBCI) says it is a safe, family-friendly club which teaches participants to use the gun replicas responsibly, despite them now being banned in all other states.

By Tanya Murphy

Gel Blasters are replica guns made of plastic or metal which propel a small pellet of gel at speeds as high as 300 feet (91 metres) per second.

Due to their close resemblance to real firearms, many of them have been seized from crime scenes across Australia.

After legislation cracked down on the toys in South Australia last October, Queensland is now the only state where gel blasters can be purchased without a license.

However, the Queensland regulations were tightened on February 1, making it an offence to carry an unconcealed gel blaster in public with a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment, while the penalty for firing a gel blaster at someone without their permission is between three and seven years in jail.

An entry level blaster starts at around $200 while those with a more robust metal construction can set you back as much as $2500.

CGBCI president Simon White said when used responsibly in a registered club setting, the toys were a safe and healthy way to get people involved in physical activity.

“First-person shooting games have existed for a long time and we’re getting people off their X-Boxes and out of the house,” he said.

“Every weekend we have 50-60 people, including men, women, and families with kids as young as ten.

“The main demographic is men aged 19-21 which means we are occupying them with something safe and social to do on the weekend.

“It’s great exercise as you’re running around a lot. My smart watch records more than 15,000 steps during a typical game.”

The sport requires players to navigate a field of obstacles to ambush and shoot each other. It has various play modes and depends on an honesty system where those who have been shot must raise their hand and return to a re-spawning point to re-enter the game.

Promising players are sent to compete against other clubs in regional, state and national competitions.

Mr White has been actively involved in discussions with the state government to assist in formulating the legislation to keep gel blasters safe and legal in Queensland.

“Education is key. We have introduced the Stop and Think campaign, with rules that are reinforced both in writing and verbally every week to our members,” said Mr White.

“We teach our members to be responsible for their actions, but we have to get the campaign out there in the public.”

The club meets every Sunday morning and has outdoor playing fields in Kuranda and Gordonvale and a new indoor facility at Redlynch.

Interested players are asked to join the club’s Facebook Group to read the safety rules and learn about upcoming meets.

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