Are Gel Blasters Legal in Australia? | The #1 Breakdown on Legalities

Are Gel Blasters Legal

Are Gel Blasters Legal in Australia? | The #1 Breakdown on Legalities

Are gel blasters legal to own in your state? 

Since coming to Australian shores, gel blasters have become an exciting and sometimes controversial topic of conversation. 

Manufactured overseas, they are designed to expel nontoxic gel balls made almost entirely of water.  Like nerf, a common toy in most homes, they are used for entertainment and recreational purposes. With increasing popularity and media exposure over these past few years, many Australians are left wondering on the legalities. 

In this article, we’ll do a basic breakdown of the legalities governing each state. 

Are gel blasters legal

Are gel blasters legal in QLD?

Yes – gel blasters are perfectly legal to own in Queensland without a licence or permit. Though there are no permits required to purchase a gel blaster, owners are encouraged to use common sense and comply with the safety frameworks promoted by Queensland police to ensure that the toy can be safely enjoyed. 

Home to numerous major gel blaster retailers, the sport and hobby continues to grow in this state. With dozens of venue operators promoting Queenslanders to gear up and get out on the field, it’s become an increasingly popular sport similar to paintball or laser skirmish. 

From the 1st of February 2021, gel blaster owners will need to have a “reasonable excuse” for having the toy, such as being part of a gel blaster club. For additional information on gel blasters in QLD, please click here

Are gel blasters legal
Kids using gel blaster toys in Brisbane, QLD. Source: ABC News, Dea Clark

Are gel blasters legal in NSW? 

You will need the correct permits and licences to own and purchase a gel blaster toy in New South Wales. Gel blasters which substantially resemble military-style firearms are prohibited entirely. 

Gel blaster toys have been classified as air guns in this state, which is defined as a “Category A” firearm. In addition to this, gel balls have been classified as ammunition. You will require a firearms licence to legally own a gel blaster toy – and to do this, you must have a genuine reason for wanting a firearm (such as being a member of a sports club). 

Many people have asked when gel blasters will be legal in NSW – only time will tell! For now, NSW residents would need to apply for the correct permits where required. For additional information, please enquire through your local authorities, or explore the NSW Police Force website linked here.

Are gel blaster legal in VIC?

The answer to this one is a bit more complex. 

If an item such as a gel blaster can be easily identified as a toy, then it will be treated as such and a licence will not be required to own or use that device. Alternatively, if the gel blaster toy can be mistaken by a reasonable person for a genuine gun, then it can potentially be classified as an imitation firearm under Victorian law. This means that standard regulations for ownership of an imitation firearm would apply. 

Unlike NSW, you do not need a licence to own an imitation firearm, however you do need the Chief Commissioner’s Prohibited Weapons Approval or Governor in Council Exemption. 

Are gel blasters legal in VIC? Considering how realistic some can look, the question is debatable. For additional information on the classifications and requirements of an imitation firearm, please click here.

Are gel blasters legal
Five of the eight firearms illustrated above are imitation firearms, the other three are toys. Can you tell the difference?
Source: Victorian Police Licensing & Regulation Division Quick Guide.

Are gel blasters legal in WA?  

At the moment, there is no official legislation provided by the WA government in relation to gel blasters in Western Australia. Are gel blasters legal here then? Essentially, the legalities of owning a gel laster toy in WA is up to interpretation. Unless used in a manner to cause fear, harm, or public alarm, Licensing Services have stated that they will not deem the toy to be a firearm. 

There is an active community of gel ballers in WA, and we would recommend getting involved. Time to grab a blaster and get on field! To find events and gel blaster games in WA, please click here.

Are gel blasters legal in NT? 

Like NSW, gel blasters which resemble military-style firearms are entirely prohibited. This means it would be an offence to own, use, and purchase these type of gel blasters in the NT. Though there is no specific ruling pertaining to the classification of gel blasters in the Northern Territory, if they are used in a manner to cause fear or harm regardless of style and colour, then the toy will be treated as an offensive/prohibited weapon. For additional information and clarification, please check with your local authorities and click here.

Are gel blasters legal in ACT?

State police have claimed that gel blasters are classed as an illegal firearm in the ACT. Residents of the state are therefore unable to legally own, use, and purchase gels blasters. There may be severe penalties for those found to be in possession of these toys or “replica/imitation firearms”.  For further clarification and information, we would recommend enquiring through your local authorities. To browse through online resources available, please see here.

Are gel blasters legal
Gel blasters have become a sport for thousands of Australians of all ages. These toys can be purchased from retailers such as Gel Ball Undercover.
Source: Donnybrook Gel Ballers Queensland, Tracey Carley.

Are gel blasters legal in SA? 

As of October 2020, Gel Blasters have been declared an imitation firearm in South Australia. This means that gel blasters in SA are now regulated like paintball guns and actual firearms. Prior to this, gel blasters were legal to own without a permit. 

For new owners, the toy is legal to own assuring the correct licence has been attained and the gel blaster has been registered. For current owners, are gel blasters legal to own and use in SA? No, not without the correct licences and permits. There is a 6 month amnesty period ending in April 2021. During this time, all current gel blaster owners are required to apply for a firearms licence and register their blasters or surrender their toys to police. For additional information on the current status of gel blasters in SA, please click here

Are gel blasters legal in TAS?

You are able to legally own and use a gel blaster in Tasmania assuring it would not be mistaken for a real firearm or be used to cause harm. Like QLD, owners are encouraged to use common sense and keep to private property. There has been no official governing classification of gel blaster toys in Tasmania as of this current moment. 

Are gel blasters legal in Tasmania then? A public statement released by the Tasmanian police on November 3rd has decreed that gel blasters which do not imitate and cannot be reasonably mistaken for a real firearm are to be treated as toys. This is similar to nerf guns. Gel blasters which replicate real firearms will be categorised as an imitation, so having the correct licences will be required to own these. 

Are gel blasters legal
Source: The Mercury.

So, are gel blasters legal in Australia? To summarise, the legalities of gel blaster toys vary in each state and can be subject to interpretation.

Retailers have imported a variety of gel blasters here in Australia, with some closely resembling a real firearm and others more toy-like in nature. Regardless of location, all Australian gel blaster owners are encouraged to use common sense and research into their own governing state laws for further clarification.  A number of states are yet to officially classify gel blasters or regulate the toy. Meanwhile others are embracing the fun and the sport! 

To check where you can play gel blaster games, make sure to become a Gel Blaster Club member and check the events calendar!  

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