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Gel blasters declared regulated imitation firearm

07 Oct 2020 1:01pm

From tomorrow, 8 October 2020 gel blasters will be declared as a regulated imitation firearm.

People who own a gel blaster will have to register their gel blaster, obtain a firearms licence within six months, or surrender the gel blaster as part of a firearms amnesty. The amnesty will take place from today until 7 April 2021.

Officer in Charge Firearms Branch, Superintendent Stephen Howard said the declaration comes following investigations by police who have assessed gel blasters to be firearms as defined in the Firearms Act.

“The firing mechanism in a gel blaster compresses air to fire a projectile and therefore meets the threshold test to be defined as a firearm,” he said.

“A gel blaster can easily be mistaken for a real firearm, with potential to cause concern in the community and trigger a police response that could involve the use of police firearms, or other tactical options.”

SAPOL estimates more than 62,000 are circulating in the South Australian community.

These changes mean:
- It is an offence to possess a gel blaster without a licence.
- It is an offence to possess an unregistered gel blaster.
- The sale and possession of gel blasters becomes regulated.
- They will be subject to licencing and control.
- If a person or business does not wish to become licenced then it will become illegal for them to sell or possess a gel blaster.

Details on how to apply for a firearms licence is available from the SAPOL website - https://www.police.sa.gov.au/services-and-events/firearms-and-weapons/apply-for-a-firearms-licence2

The Firearms Act contains a general amnesty which can be utilised to surrender a gel blaster to police, additional amnesty conditions are in place for those gel blaster owners to obtain a firearms licence.

“If a member of the public is in the possession of a firearm that is not registered or they don’t have a firearms licence then they should make use of the amnesty and surrender the firearm at a police station, or at a participating firearms dealer.”

To ensure the safety of police officers, when surrendering a gel blaster it must be in
the following condition:
- Magazine removed and empty
- Battery removed
- Stock removed (if possible, the battery is often housed in the stock)
- Gel blaster should be carried in a bag or cover to prevent causing concern.

SAPOL will not accept accessories including:
- Batteries - they are generic, rechargeable and the owner can keep them and do with them what they wish.
- Battery chargers
- Scopes, sights, imitation silencers, muzzle brakes, slings
- Fore grips, bipods, tripods
- Gel balls
- Goggles or protective clothing
- Torches (specific torches are sold to fit to the gel blaster)

If a person deals, owns or possesses a gel blaster and does not hold the appropriate firearms licence then that person may be committing offences against the Firearms Act 2015 and Firearms Regulations 2017, and maybe liable to prosecution.

For more information about the changes to gel blasters visit the SA Police website – www.police.sa.gov.au/gel-blasters