The owners of gel blasters have taken aim at Tasmania Police over a ban on the use of the toys and a requirement that they be surrendered.
Shooters Union Tasmania president Alistair Shephard said Tasmania Police Firearms Services had informed members of the state’s Gelsoft (gel blaster) club community that they were not permitted to own the toys.
“Tasmania Police have misled Tasmanians about the issue,” Mr Shephard said. A gel blaster is a toy which is made of plastic and fires watery gel balls.
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He said Tasmania Police had also told users that participating in ‘war games’ was not an approved reason to have them. He said members were initially advised by Tasmania Police to set up clubs and exemptions would be made.
“Once again, TasPol have been leading law-abiding firearms owners, toy enthusiasts and parents up the garden path by making promises and then not keeping them,” he said.
“We were told that if Gelsoft clubs were set up to use these toys in that capacity, then an exemption would be granted and people could freely own them. People invested real money setting up clubs, only to have the rug pulled out from underneath them by the police who have now decided they can’t issue exemptions.”
Acting Assistant Commissioner Ian Whish-Wilson said gel blasters had been identified by policing agencies as a potential threat to the community due to their close appearance to a real firearm.
“Most gel blasters are replicas of real firearms and can be easily mistaken for being a real firearm,” he said.
“They have the potential to be used in criminal activity, to threaten or intimidate.”
He said that in 2018 advice was provided to a Smithton Club that permitted their use. “However, Tasmania Police has since determined that gel blasters are classified in the same category as an air rifle or air pistol.
Gun Control Australia spokesman Roland Browne said GCA supported Tasmania Police. “We don’t like gel blasters because they promote a gun culture,” he said.
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