Gel blasters banned: ‘it’s likely someone could get killed’
Gel blasters will be outlawed in WA from July 3. The State Government said the move is in response to a number of concerning incidents involving the misuse of gel blasters.
The recreational devices are designed to shoot water-filled pellets but they resemble conventional firearms. Police said there have been numerous incidents involving gel blasters being mistaken for real guns, which has triggered significant police responses.
Gel blasters were prohibited from entering any state or territory prior to 2017, however a subsequent ruling allowed them to be imported through Queensland.
Speaking with Oliver Peterson, Police Minister Paul Papalia said it’s likely someone could get killed if police respond to a job where someone appears to be holding an assault rifle.
“They have to take all precautions as though it’s a real firearm,” said Minister Papalia.
In response to the argument the gel blaster devices are “recreational” much like paintball guns, Minister Papalia said, “a paintball gun doesn’t look anything like a firearm.”
There’ll be an amnesty period during which people can surrender gel blasters without penalty. After July 3, a three-year jail term or a fine of up to $36,000 can be imposed for possession of the devices.
Press PLAY to hear Minister Papalia explain more:
Speaking in response to the ban, owner of Perth Gel Blaster Group Nhat Truong told Oliver Peterson he believes the State Government are “misinformed.”
“They’re a toy,” he said.
“There are more things that are more dangerous out there.”
Mr Truong agreed the guns do look real but he said if they had been consulted they would have worked with the State Government to alter the devices.
“They went straight to the ban,” said Mr Truong.
“If they wanted them to look bright and pink – we can do that.”
Press PLAY to hear Mr Truong defend the devices:
(Photo credit: Michael Stamp/Nine News)