Police Minister Paul Papalia today announced the Government will outlaw gel blaster guns in Western Australia.
The move is in response to a number of concerning incidents involving the misuse of gel blasters.
Gel blasters, which are made to shoot water filled pellets, closely resemble conventional firearms.
Prior to December 2017, gel blasters were prohibited from entering any State/Territory jurisdiction by the Commonwealth through customs regulations.
However, a subsequent ruling has allowed them to be imported through Queensland.
The WA Police Force has requested the State Government make gel blasters a prohibited weapon under the Weapons Act 1999.
There have been numerous incidents involving gel blasters being mistaken for real firearms, which has triggered significant police responses.
Police also have intelligence that criminal groups are importing gel blasters and modifying them into workable firearms.
There is significant concern that the proliferation of gel blasters will result in a person wielding a gel blaster being shot by police or an innocent community member being shot by a converted gel blaster.
The penalty for anyone found in possession of a gel blaster after the ban comes into effect is up to three years imprisonment or a fine of up to $36,000.
The State Government will offer an amnesty to owners of gel blasters, so they can safely surrender the weapons.
As stated by Police Minister Paul Papalia:
“Gel blasters look like real firearms.
“There have been 500 high level responses to active armed shooter incidents across Australia caused by the presence of gel blasters – this means serious crime and counter terrorist assets like the TRG are being diverted from their proper role.
“Someone in possession of a gel blaster in the community could be shot by Police fearing they are carrying a real weapon.
“Criminals are also attracted to using gel blasters as fake weapons or to convert to useable firearms.
“The WA Police Force has requested that we ban gel blasters so we are taking that action.”