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Gel blasters

From 8 October 2020 gel blasters will be declared as a regulated imitation firearm. The sale and possession of gel blasters will be subject to licencing and control under the Firearms Act 2015 and Firearms Regulations 2017, with a six-month amnesty period.

People with gel blasters will be required to obtain a firearms licence and registration or hand their unauthorised item into a police station within the amnesty period.

Firearms conditions and registration will be the same as for paintball firearms licences and conditions.

Find out what you need to do

Answer a few simple questions using our online form to find out what you need to do.

Amnesty period

The amnesty period is from 8 October 2020 until 7 April 2021.

The amnesty will not allow the use (sighting or firing) of gel blasters in any person’s possession unless in compliance with the regulatory requirements ie:

  • they have been granted the appropriate firearms licence - Category A (section 4),
  • had the firearm registered, and
  • use is limited to a recognised gel blaster venue which holds the same firearms licence accreditation as a recognised paintball operator.

Firearms Branch is processing applications for Firearms Licences relating to gel blasters as a priority.

During the amnesty period a person who has a gel blaster will be exempt from the Code of Practice for the Security, Storage and Transport of Firearms.

The gel blaster amnesty will allow for the disposal of gel blasters through sale, either to a licensed firearms dealer (in South Australia), or sale to another person or entity interstate.  This sale must comply with all relevant laws of the receiving state or territory.

A person can surrender their gel blaster to a police station or a participating firearms dealer under the following conditions:

  • 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).
Frequently asked questions

What training is required for a person to be a licensed gel blaster firearm owner?

TAFE SA is offering a three hour course, ‘Firearm Paintball and Gel Blaster Course’ which commences on 18 November 2020. This course is only for Category A firearms used in Licence Category 4 – Paintball and it will cost participants $55.

What kind of firearms can I have with a gel blaster firearms licence?

If you obtain a Category 4 (paintball) licence for Category A firearms, you can only possess paint-ball or gel blaster firearms. It is possible to have multiple category licenses, but this is only with the recognised training and conditions being met by the licensee.

Can gel blaster firearms be secured differently to other firearms?

As a firearm, gel blasters will require the same storage as a Category A Paintball firearm.

  • 1-19 gel blaster and paint ball firearms require a level 1 or other prescribed safe
  • 20 or more gel blaster and paint ball firearms require a level 2 safe and CCTV or an alarm system

Firearms owners are required to take all reasonable precautions to prevent the firearm from being lost or stolen or coming into the possession of an unauthorised person. The amnesty does not provide an exemption from this responsibility.

There are security standards expected for licensed gel blaster firearms owners and the Amnesty provides time for gel blaster firearms owners to coordinate the security before 7 April 2021, but all reasonable methods to prevent loss and theft need to be adhered to. For example, gel blasters need to be secured by the best possible means until the appropriate safes etc are installed.

Does the amnesty for gel blaster firearm licensing, registration and security storage extend to other firearms?

No. The amnesty conditions for licensing, registration and storage is specific to gel blaster firearms only. This is a policy established by the Registrar.

A general amnesty exists for any person in the process of surrendering an unauthorised item (illegal or unregistered firearm, firearm part or ammunition) to a police station or participating dealer. This is a legislated amnesty.

How are Regulated Imitation Firearms becoming a Category A Firearm?

Any unregistered gel blaster firearm is a Regulated Imitation Firearm meaning the unregistered gel blaster firearm is the same category as the firearm it imitates. For example, if an unregistered gel blaster firearm imitates a handgun, it is treated as an unregistered handgun.

When the gel blaster firearm is registered, Firearms Branch categorises the gel blaster firearm as a Category A, which also consists of air guns and paint ball firearms. Gel blaster firearms that are automatic will be registered as Category A firearms.

The legislation is specific for paint ball so how does gel blaster fit in?

With regard to firearm registration, a gel blaster firearm is an air gun and meets the definition of the Category A firearm. Paintball firearms are listed in this same category.

With regard to the firearm licence, Category 4 is specific to paint-ball shooting licenses. Although, the legislation does refer to paint ball specifically, this is the best fit for a gel blaster firearms licensee. The process of amending the legislation to enable gel blaster enthusiasts to lawfully participate in their sport is being examined.

Does the magazine capacity impact the category of gel blaster firearm?

For a registered gel blaster firearm, no, the magazine capacity will not categorise the gel blaster firearm. A gel blaster firearm is Category A. The legislated definition of a paint ball firearm will be amended to include gel blaster firearms and other similar products. However, an unregistered gel blaster firearm is categorised as the firearm it imitates, so the magazine capacity may determine a firearm category outside A.

Can I use the gel blaster firearm in public?

No. The gel blaster firearm can only be used in certified venues.

How long does it take to get a licence?

A specific time-frame cannot be determined for this. Gel blaster firearm licenses are receiving priority.

Who can do gel blaster firearm repairs?

Individuals can work on their own firearms and venue operators can work on the business’ firearms stock (those available for hire). Any business performing repairs on gel blasters for commercial gain is required to hold a firearms dealers licence.

How do I deactivate my gel blaster firearm?

Gel blaster firearms cannot permanently be deactivated.  Without the permanency of deactivation, the gel blaster cannot be listed as deactivated. Regular deactivated firearms still require licensing and registration.

Do I need to register a gel blaster firearm that doesn’t work?

Yes. All firearms require registration. A gel blaster firearm that does not work remains a regulated imitation firearm.

What training is required for a person to be a gel blaster firearms dealer?

SAPOL is working with TAFE SA to establish what training is required for gel blaster licenses, including dealers.

Do I need qualifications as a gunsmith to work on gel blaster firearms?

You do need to be a licensed firearms dealer to commercially operate as a person repairing gel blaster firearms. You do not need to be a qualified gunsmith.

What can be sold by an unlicensed dealer?

Parts that are interchangeable and readily available in general stores. For example, the o-ring is available in any hardware store and can be sold, but the plastic firearm shaped outer cover of gel blaster firearm has no other purpose than to make the receiver look like a firearm and can only be sold by a licensed dealer.

Related information

Media release - 12 October 2020

Media release - 7 October 2020