are-gel-blasters-legal-in-nsw

I was disappointed to learn that these toy guns are actually illegal here in New South Wales. Gel blasters, which shoot water-filled gel beads, have gained popularity in recent years for recreational gel blaster wars and target practice. But in NSW, they are classified as prohibited weapons, meaning it is against the law to own, use, or buy them.

Are gel blasters legal in NSW?

Unfortunately, no. Gel blasters were banned in NSW in 2020 through amendments made to the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998. This act prohibits the possession of imitation firearms, which is how gel blasters are classified under the law here. So even though they only shoot harmless gel balls, they are considered illegal just like real firearms are in NSW.

When did gel blasters become illegal in New South Wales?

Gel blasters were legal for a time in NSW until the law changed in August 2020. The Weapons Prohibition Act was amended to include these toy guns in the definition of “prohibited weapons.” This change instantly made ownership of gel blasters illegal statewide.

I bought my first gel blaster just before the ban took effect, the sudden change came as an unwelcome surprise and left me concerned about how to comply with the new law.

What does the law say about gel blasters in NSW?

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The Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 specifically prohibits the possession, use, and purchase of imitation firearms. Gel blasters clearly imitate the appearance of real firearms like pistols and rifles, so they fall under the definition of imitation firearms.

Anyone caught with a gel blaster in NSW can face fines up to $2,200 and imprisonment for up to 2 years for possessing a prohibited weapon without a permit. So the penalties are quite severe for getting caught with one of these recreational toy guns.

Gel Blaster Restrictions and Requirements in NSW

Since gel blasters are classified as imitation firearms in NSW, there are very strict restrictions around them and requirements for legal ownership. However, there are a few limited exceptions where one can legally own a gel blaster.

Do you need a license to own a gel blaster in NSW?

You need more than just a license – private ownership of a gel blaster is banned entirely unless you qualify for an extremely limited exemption. The only chance a civilian has to get an exemption is if you work in film/theater and require the gel blaster as a prop.

Exemptions also apply to law enforcement, military, and certain security organizations for training purposes. But recreational users like me are out of luck when it comes to legally owning gel blasters.

Related Article: Are Gel Blaster Guns Legal in Queensland?

Where can you legally use gel blasters in NSW?

With the total ban on civilian ownership, there are very few places left where you can legally use a gel blaster in New South Wales. Licensed paintball venues are one option, as they can possess gel blasters for use in organized paintball matches.

Movie and TV productions may use legal prop gel blasters under strict supervision by weapons experts. And law enforcement can possess them for training purposes. But recreational use on private property is a definite no-no and will lead to harsh penalties if caught.

Can I still buy a gel blaster in a NSW store?

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Probably not. Most reputable sporting goods and hobby stores will not stock illegal gel blasters for sale in their NSW locations. The risk of losing their business over selling prohibited weapons is too high. However, before the ban, I was able to freely buy gel blasters in stores. Some gel ball enthusiast Facebook groups report that there may still be some stores willing to discreetly sell gel blasters under the counter, though I cannot legally recommend attempting to purchase one this way.

Consequences of Illegally Owning a Gel Blaster in NSW

Given the complete ban on civilian gel blaster ownership in NSW, there are some pretty severe criminal penalties that can result if you are caught in possession of one. It pays to understand the potential consequences before considering buying or using a gel blaster unlawfully.

What penalties apply for illegally owning a gel blaster in NSW?

Under the Weapons Prohibition Act, the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $2,200 and/or imprisonment for up to 2 years just for possession. Should you brandish an illegal gel blaster in public or use it, there are further fines up to $5,500 and prison sentences up to 7 years for these offenses. Supplying (selling) prohibited gel blasters includes fines topping out at $11,000 and a prison term up to 10 years.

Conclusion:

The illegal status of gel blasters has been a real disappointment for responsible hobbyists like me here in NSW. While I understand the government’s desire to crack down on realistic imitation firearms, an outright ban feels like overkill given gel blasters are mostly used for recreational fun rather than harm.

I sincerely hope that NSW will eventually follow the path of our fellow Aussie states in legalizing these toys under fair usage regulations. With common sense safety rules, we can safely enjoy playing and tinkering with gel blasters as a legitimate hobby rather than resort to shady black market deals that turn regular citizens into criminals. There are options between a total ban and completely unregulated usage for NSW to consider.

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