A young Sydney man faced charges of illegally acquiring and possessing prohibited firearms after purchasing a ‘gel blaster’ online.   

Criminal Lawyer Joseph Correy recently represented an 18-year-old Sydney man who was charged with the criminal offence of possessing prohibited firearms after purchasing a ‘gel blaster’ online.  The young man purchased the gel blaster gun after seeing a Facebook advertisement that an Australian based toy company placed.  He followed the link in the ad to purchase the gel blaster.

Mr Correy successfully had the charge removed arguing that the advertisement was misleading.  The toy company placed the advertisement without adequate information on local laws as part of the purchase process.

It appears that it was a deliberate attempt by the toy company to target the defendant with their ads, regardless of the fact it is illegal to sell firearms in NSW to anyone without an appropriate license or permit to purchase prohibited firearms.

This is also against Facebook and Instagram advertising guidelines that clearly state Ads must not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives.  This includes gel blasters due to prohibitions on these firearms in NSW.

However, the defendant’s and Facebook’s confusion isn’t surprising.  While gel blasters are a firearm in NSW, they are toys in QLD.  Toy sellers dominate the industry in QLD which is worth over $200 million annually in QLD.  Until recently, SA did not prohibit Gel blaster ownership or sale.

What is a gel blaster?

A gel blaster is a device that looks like a military firearm and that shoots “gel” ball ammunition.  The gel balls mostly contain water and are typically 6-8mm in size.  They are generally low power and similar in design to air rifles or airsoft guns (aka BB guns).  The main difference is the size and material of the ammunition it fires.

Gel blasters are also gel guns, hydro blasters, hydro markers, gel shooters, gel markers, and Jelsoft.

QLD treads gel blasters are toy guns.   Enthusiasts use gel blasters for close quarter battle (CQB) or close quarter combat (CQC) style shooting skirmishes similar to paintball.

What are the gel blaster laws in NSW?

It is illegal to acquire, possess or distribute a prohibited firearm without an appropriate firearms licence and/or permit to do so.

In NSW, the Firearms act defines prohibited firearms to be inclusive of those that substantially duplicate in appearance, (regardless of calibre or manner of operation), of the following;

  • Machine guns, sub-machine guns or other firearms that propel projectiles in rapid succession
  • Military self-loading centre-fire rifles
  • Military self-loading shotguns

It is also an offence to possess an imitation firearm without a permit in New South Wales.   An imitation firearm can include anything that looks like a firearm that is not actually a firearm, regardless of its colour, weight, or composition.  Gel blasters sold throughout Australia ‘substantially duplicate in appearance real military-grade firearms’.  They are, therefore, considered ‘prohibited firearms’ in NSW.

It’s interesting to note, however, that the Firearms Act 1996 does not define ‘Substantially Duplicates’, nor does any other Act of similar effect across Australia.

Are gel blasters legal in NSW 2022?

If you hold a valid firearms licence then you can legally own a gel blaster NSW.  However, it is illegal to own or possess a gel blaster gun in NSW without a valid firearms license or permit.  The type of firearms licence required to own a gel blaster in NSW is a category A license.

The Firearms Act 1996, No 46 deals with licensing requirements for all firearms.

What is the penalty for illegally possessing a gel blaster?

It is illegal to acquire, possess or distribute a prohibited firearm without an appropriate firearms licence and/or permit to do so.

The maximum penalty for possessing prohibited firearms without a proper licence and/or permit is 5 years imprisonment.

If you point a gel blaster at another person and that person has not given you permission, you can face a sentence of up to 7 years’ gaol.

In the ACT, possession of a gel blaster carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in gaol.

What to do if you own a gel blaster without a licence to do so?

If you currently own a Gel Blaster you can do one of two things;

  1. You can apply for a firearms licence and to register the firearm.
  1. Surrender the gel blaster to the police or certain firearms dealers.

With laws tightening across Australia relating to ownership and use of gel blasters, it is imperative that you follow the above recommendations.

There are still some legitimate cases of ignorance around local regulations and firearm ownership.   However, police and media attention has made it difficult to avoid criminal charges for illegal gel blaster possession.

What to do if charged with illegal possession of a firearm?

If you are facing a charge relating to the illegal possession of a gel blaster or firearm, get in contact with us at Australian Criminal Law Group on 02 8815 8167 or at info@aclawgroup.com.au.

It is a serious offence to possess a prohibited firearm without an appropriate licence and/or permit.  As such, we recommend good legal representation for gel blaster possession charges.

Australian Criminal Law Group successfully gets the best results for illegal firearm possession charges.  We have offices in Sydney CBD, Blacktown and Parramatta so get in contact with us to have your cases assessed.  We offer free first consults and fixed fees, making it affordable to get the best lawyers in Sydney on your case. Contact us via our 24-hour hotline today on 02 8815 8167.

 

Source:

Firearms Act 1996 No 46, Current version for 1 January 2022 to date (accessed 18 March 202a at 15:52) https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1996-046

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This information is a general guide to law only, not legal advice.  We recommend that you speak to a qualified lawyer about your situation.

Australian Criminal Law Group and its suppliers make every reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy and validity of the information provided on its web pages. At the time of updating, this information was correct.  However, given the laws in NSW and Australia are continually changing, the Australian Criminal Law Group makes no warranties or representations as to its accuracy. 

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