So here is my take on the announcement made by the ACT police regarding gel blasters this week.
I personally feel the ACT police have no right whatsoever to tell us that gel blasters are illegal or that they are banned or that you will be prosecuted for possessing one in any capacity.
I think that Australians trust the government and their respective arms way too much and allow them to erode freedoms without any push back whatsoever. I also believe this is by design and the government likes Aussies that do what they are told.
This last part of course is a completely different blog post.
My take on the laws in ACT is that they are pretty much the same as they are in NSW.
Here is the definition of a firearm according to the Australian Capital Territory weapons ACT 1997;
(1) In this Act:
(a) means a gun, or other weapon, that is, or at any time was, capable of propelling a projectile by means of an explosive force, however caused; and
(i) a blank fire firearm; and
(ii) an airgun; and
(iii) a paintball marker; and
(iv) something declared to be a firearm under section 31; and
(v) a modified item; and
(vi) a firearm frame or firearm receiver that does not form part of a firearm.
(2) However, firearm does not include—
(a) something prescribed by regulation not to be a firearm; or
(b) something declared not to be a firearm under section 31.
(3) In this section:
modified item means something that would be a firearm if—
(a) it did not have something missing from it, or a defect or obstruction; or
(b) something had not been added to it.
(a) can propel, or is designed to propel, a projectile by means of—
(i) any gas or mixture of gases, including air but not including a gas or mixture of gases generated by an explosive; or
(ii) a spring; and
(b) is operated or designed for operation by means of a trigger or similar device.
This part of the legislation might indeed capture a gel blaster but then we go back to the old argument between NERF and Gel blasters and Airsoft.
NERF would clearly be captured by this legislation. Are the ACT now going to ban the use and sale of NERF guns. it is after all a firearm under the definition.
Or is it more appropriate that we have a look at the projectile and determine if it is considered ammunition or not.
The definition of ammunition is below.
(i) a cartridge case fitted with a primer and projectile; and
(ii) a cartridge case fitted with a primer that contains a propelling charge and projectile; and
(iii) blank cartridges, airgun pellets, training cartridges or gas cartridges; and
(iv) anything else prescribed by regulation; but
(b) does not include—
(i) a paintball; or
(ii) something prescribed by regulation not to be ammunition.
Even a paintball does not Qualify as ammunition in this section. So it is a bit of a stretch to call it an Airgun and lets face it, this argument needs to be hashed out in court and a judge needs to decide if it is applicable or not.
Are you telling me that orbeez gel balls would be prescribed to be ammunition??? come on!
The final argument is that it is an imitation firearm. Here is the definition below.
(a) means something that, regardless of its colour, weight or composition or the presence or absence of any moveable parts, substantially duplicates in appearance a firearm but is not a firearm; and
(b) includes something that the registrar declares to be an imitation firearm under section 31.
(a) something that is produced and identified as a children’s toy; or
(b) something prescribed by regulation not to be an imitation firearm; or
(c) something declared not to be an imitation firearm under section 31.
There is clearly a provision for Children's toys in the legislation.
The problem in my mind is that the public think that the Police have banned gel blasters in the ACT all of a sudden because the police say so. They have not proven that they are a firearm and that they are a prohibited item. They have not been to court and won an administrative decision.
They have simply told you you can't have something based on their interpretation of the law when they have no right to make that interpretation.
Make of this what you want but it is probably time we stopped letting government bureaucrats tell us what to do.
We didn't let them in QLD and now we enjoy our right to own a harmless toy and the police for the most part are very reasonable with us.
Thanks for reading, please comment if you have anything further to add. I would like to see some legal minds get onto this and dig up some case law and show us how to win this battle. If we get enough support we might even look at taking legal action if there is an avenue to do so.