Queensland government refuses to stop sale of gel blasters

The Queensland Government has opted not to align the state’s regulations with the prevailing national standards, asserting that the current laws are appropriate. Gel blasters, which are toy firearms that discharge gel projectiles, are subject to sales limitations across all states and territories except Queensland. These toy guns have progressively become a favoured choice among criminals in Queensland, simulating genuine weaponry.

Individuals who have encountered these items have reported mistaking them for actual firearms, thereby raising substantial concerns among the public. Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner George Marchesini has articulated the seriousness of this matter, emphasising the potential dangers posed by such encounters and the associated uncertainty regarding the authenticity of the weapon. The proliferation of gel blasters in unlawful activities is becoming an escalating apprehension.

In 2021, the act of openly carrying gel blasters and aiming them at others without consent was criminalised, albeit vending them remains unregulated. The legal framework mandates secure transportation in a bag and storage within a locked container at home, with possession justified solely by legitimate and reasonable purposes, as stated by Police Minister Mark Ryan.

An recent investigative report demonstrated the relative ease of purchasing gel blasters within the state. While the establishment furnished guidelines for responsible carrying of these items and solicited personal information for internal records, the absence of identification verification was notable.

Despite growing law enforcement concerns about the proliferation of these toy firearms, the government has reaffirmed its confidence in the prevailing legislative framework. Minister Mark Ryan emphasised the collaborative efforts between the government, law enforcement agencies, and the industry to strike a balance that discourages misuse.

However, apprehensions within the police force regarding the potential implications of these toys persist. Assistant Commissioner Marchesini refrained from commenting on potential government policy changes but underscored the substantial risks posed to the community and law enforcement officers alike by the escalating use of gel blasters.