Hope new gel blaster legislation will weed out bad eggs
A Whitsunday business owner believes new gel blaster legislation will help weed out people giving the hobby a bad name.
Queensland Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Brian Connors announced on Friday it would become an offence to openly carry gel blasters, which could be confused as weapons, from February 1.
“What we’re asking is people take appropriate precautions to secure those items, to keep them out of sight and carry them in closed bags and containers so as to not cause alarm,” he said.
For example, a gel blaster should not be transported uncovered in the back seat of a car and must be concealed when being carried in public.
Assistant Commissioner Connors said since 2018, more than 100 people had been charged with misusing a gel blaster.
“There’s been more instances than that where police have been called to intervene or take action,” he said.
A person found guilty of misusing a gel blaster could be sentenced to more than two years in jail.
Lahni Henderson from Gel Blasters Direct, which opened in Cannonvale late last year, believed it would help eliminate the people doing the wrong thing with gel blasters.
“There’s all of us doing the right thing and there’s a few doing the wrong thing,” she said.
“If people stop doing the wrong thing I think it’s going to change a lot of people’s view.
“But some people’s minds are not going to change about replicas.”
Miss Henderson said nothing would change at the business or with the family’s involvement in the hobby as they already carried their equipment in bags.
“All the rules that are around it are common sense,” she said.
“I think it’ll probably make the people that are doing the wrong thing not want to get involved and the diehards, it’s not going to deter them.”
Acting Assistant Commissioner Connors said Queensland Police began an awareness campaign on the responsible use and possession of gel blasters in 2019 with the support of the industry.
“The ‘Stop and Think’ campaign will continue to promote the safe use of gel blasters as a popular pastime, support small businesses that sell equipment and supplies, and ensure community safety,” he said.
“The public’s safety is of the utmost importance.
“Gel blasters and other replicas can look very similar to real firearms and we don’t want them used to threaten people or commit crimes.
“We want to see all owners adhering to the new legislation with responsible storage, transportation and use of gel blasters.”
For more information about the new gel blaster legislation click here.