The following is the presentation given to retailers and operators today by QPS weapons licensing.
What’s changing and what does it mean?
What is the need for changes?
- Gel Blaster incidents 293 in 2019
- Drain on police resources – don’t always result in charges and often amount to no action taken, however every incident requires an armed tactical response until such time as police can safely identify that the item is not a firearm and there is no danger to the community.
- Impact on frontline police to respond to more important incidents.
- Risk of possible police shooting
- 2017 State Coroner’s recommendations – asked the Commissioner to consider restricted ownership of replica firearms.
Replica firearms to become Restricted Items
- ALL replica firearms will become “Restricted Items” under the provisions of the Section 9 of the Weapons Categories Regulation 1997.
- “Restricted items” are the mildest form of regulation permitted under the Weapons Act.
- NO licence is required to possess a restricted item and the items do not need to be registered.
- A person only needs a ‘reasonable excuse’ to possess a restricted item. Section 67 of the Weapons Act 1990.
What is a replica in the Weapons act 1990?
- 6A What is a replica
- (1) A replica of a weapon is—
- (a) a reasonable facsimile or copy of a weapon, even if it is
- not capable of discharging a projectile or substance; or
- (b) a category A, B or C weapon that has been rendered
- permanently inoperable; or
- © a hand grenade that is inert.
- (2) A replica—
- (a) of a particular weapon—means a reasonable facsimile
- or copy of the weapon, even if it is not capable of
- discharging a projectile or substance; or
- (b) of a spear ■■■, longbow or crossbow—means a
- reasonable facsimile or copy of a spear ■■■, longbow or
- crossbow even if it is not capable of discharging a
- projectile; or
- © of a thing prescribed under a regulation—means
- anything prescribe
What about toys?
- There is NO exemption for a toy in this definition.
- A thing can be a toy or a paperweight, a bottle opener or a cigarette lighter and ALSO be a replica firearm.
- The intended use of an item has no bearing on how the legislation views its appearance.
- ‘Toy’ is not a classification under the Weapons Act 1990.
- Gel Blasters have not been officially classified as a ‘toy’ by QPS or under any legislation.
- QPS Ballistics have previously indicated that Gel Blasters are NOT firearms. They have agreed that ‘projectile toy’ is probably a more accurate description of what they are intended for, but this is not binding on any court. It is not the job of QPS to categorise ‘toys’.
- Clark v Customs – Description by magistrate not binding.
What does this mean?
- Restricted items are NOT firearms.
- Restricted items are NOT a category of weapon.
- You will NOT need a license to have one.
- Replicas, including relevant Gel Blasters, will NOT need to be registered with Weapons Licensing.
- If you have a reasonable excuse to have one, you can have as many as you like.
- This will NOT affect importation to QLD. B709A police certificate only states that a licence or permit is NOT required for possession in the state. This will NOT change.
- Weapons Licensing are working hard on creating a smart form that eliminates common application errors to streamline importation process for importers.
What’s a ‘Reasonable Excuse’
- Changes are proposed to Section 67 of the Weapons Act 1990 to offer some guidance, however it is impossible to identify all possible reasonable excuses.
- I.e. A member of a Gel Ball Club for the purpose of taking part in Gel Ball sports OR a collector of firearms.
- The changes will make it clear that these are NOT the only reasonable excuses available.
- A court would apply what is commonly called the ‘Reasonable Person Test’.
- In other words: Would an average person, given the ethical and moral standards and expectations of the community, believe that the excuse was reasonable?
What does that mean?
- The guideline I apply, and seems to be acceptable to all the legal opinions I have received is this:
- If your intended use of the item is NOT unlawful, dangerous, irresponsible, alarming to the public or threatening toward any person, it would be unlikely for a court to consider that excuse to be unreasonable.
- Deciding to possess a restricted item, the onus to have a reasonable
excuse resides with the person possessing the item.
- Retailers would only need to point out to a customer that a reasonable excuse is required, NOT to determine what that excuse may be, or if it is reasonable.
- Provisions already exist in the legislation regarding storage of restricted items and preventing access to persons not authorised to have possession.
Section 142 of the Weapons Regulation 2016.
- This is NOT something that has been added as part of the proposed changes.
- When not in possession of the restricted item, it must be stored in a locked container.
- This does NOT mean a ■■■ safe. It could be any closed container that is lockable. Eg a toolbox with a padlock, a ■■■ bag with a small padlock, a cupboard or a drawer that is lockable.
- Police will NOT do safe keeping inspections.
- Police will be advised to avoid frivolous prosecution and encouraged to
How does this effect retailers and field operators or people who want to have their Gel Blasters on display?
- Provisions exist under the weapons regulations for Authorised Officers to approve alternate storage for weapons. Section 98 of the Weapons Regulation 2016.
- This does NOT apply to restricted items at the moment as they are NOT weapons.
- Under the proposed changes Weapons Licensing will be able to approve alternate storage for restricted items on a case by case basis, upon application.
- This may require some retailers to adjust their store layout or apply for alternate storage, such as tethering some display stock.
- There will be an ample lead in time before the legislation takes effect to enable affected parties to comply.
The elephant in the room and what does it mean?
- Category R category will be modified to remove ‘not a toy’ and replace it with ‘a firearm’. Section 8 of the Weapons Categories Regulation 1997
- Effectively this means that ALL replicas will be removed from Category R unless they are ACTUALLY a firearm (some firearm manufacturers make category A and B firearms that are replicas of full auto weapons ie a .22 calibre rimfire semi auto rifle designed to look like an M16).
- This is NOT part of a government plan to ban Gel Blasters.
- Legislators were originally reluctant to include this provision until Weapons Licensing presented a case.
- Weapons Licensing is NOT working to ban Gel Blasters.
Then why do it?
The proposed legislation is designed to capture ALL replicas. If the toy
provision remains in Cat R, then Gel Blasters (which we agree are
toys) would possibly be exempt from the proposed changes
Whilst that would suit the Gel Ball community, it would do nothing to
achieve the objective of the legislation and reduce the impact on
community safety of continued replica firearm incidents.
The ‘Toy’ argument is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if you call them
toys or sports equipment or militaria. As long as they are not a real
■■■, they cannot be in Category R.
Still don’t see it, why change it!
- Also, for many years, RSL’s and bona fide collectors of militaria have had to register and pay a fee, as well as hold a firearms collector’s license just to possess inert replicas that were NOT real ■■■■.
- These Cat R replicas were also the subject of strict storage requirements, identical to those of real ■■■■.
- Weapons Licensing recognised that this was a disproportionate regulation of inert items, based entirely on appearance and so, requested the change for this reason also.