Proposed Replica Legislation QPS presentation 2-3-20

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.

What else?

  • 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
    promote education.

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
    completely.

  • 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.

Source: https://bitly.com/qldgelregs
Queensland-Police-Badge

My wife would say that I am not a very smart person, however from reading that, the only real change to actually affect us would be the fact that they need to be in a lockable storage (which I do anyway), right?
We all have a reasonable excuse (collect them, gel clubs/skirmish).

Is there anything “between the lines” for duds like me?

Yeah I’m with you there Karl. Basically just a lockable storage container and don’t purchase a blaster with the intent to commit a crime.

Sounds like a great result to me

There was a caveat to this category change. Peter Clarke went through it in his tach edge video.

I’d agree that these are all reasonable ownership requirements but it won’t stop the tards and subsequently the incident reports.

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My only concern is that if ■■■ laws are this easy change then what’s to stop them increasing the requirements later if they don’t get the result they are after :thinking:

It’s been pointed out before that there have been more baseball bat related incidents that require an armed police response and more often end injuries than plastic blasters have caused. I don’t need a reason to head to Rebel though :unamused:

It just feels a little like they are going after what’s popular not whats best for the community.

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Yeah, none of this sounds so bad (I wonder where the gotchas are in the actual legislation…), but I fail to see how it will reduce the number of police callouts for gel blaster incidents.

It’s nice that it seems to reduce the burden on actual replica firearms collectors though. Or am I reading too much into it?

It also maybe that they have been reviewing the laws as they do every now and than and gel blasters may have just been that push for review???

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Ah well, whichever way it goes in the future it’s not a terrible result for now…

It’ll do the clubs a lot of good, memberships will boom :sunglasses:

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Now if all the wankers stop taking them out in public we should see no further action taken

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Amen to that, keep it private property ffs

Anyway a sigh of relief for now which is great news.

I’ve done some searching for anything in SA and there is nothing. There is NO legislation in place or even any mention of Gel Blasters thus far. Any restrictions in SA are only a suggestion.

There certainly isn’t anything on the SAPOL site like there is QPS. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Oh good it starts. Now we will have to fork out money to be a member of a club. Know what that’s called? A bullshit tax.

Got a property? Or can rent one for a day? Start a club with your mates. Organise game days in a private bookface group so you’ve got records of the activity. No need for it to be a financial burden…

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But no need for this burden though either.

Don’t forget, this is how governments and bureaucracy works, salami tactics. This is pretty mild, reasonable and doesn’t effect us in too big a way. The next thing will be the same only effect some but nothing too unreasonable, and so on with the next and the next.
Small slices then suddenly, no salami left.

I agree this isn’t a big deal in terms of outcome, the problem I have is that’s the point is all. But tbh it was expected and no surprise.

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hmm got plenty of land, whats my club gonna be called @Rattler … Sheep Blasters?? :rofl:

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Look, smiley, you’re not wrong. But the gov’t have “done something about gel blasters” now, so if we (owners, players and retailers) can keep doing what we’re doing the right way, and get more people into the sport so we can get the public perception to be “gelsoft is a sport like paintball” not “gel blasters are fake ■■■■ those idiots used to hold up the servo”.

Then next time the police want more controls there will be more voices saying “don’t ban our sport”…

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Totally agree with you mate and I’m hoping that happens. Most retailers and fields have been great at promoting safety and introducing new players and enthusiasts in a responsible way to the sport. As you say if we can hit that critical mass of players and supporters then it should bore well for the future.

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IMO in this day and age Australia needs a family sport like Gel Blasters. I’ve seen my mates have so much fun playing with their sons AND daughters of 9-15yo.
Everyone having so much fun even when they lost in a game. It didn’t matter. A son loved the opportunity to blast his Dad and they both laughed about it. Good physical sport, done right it is very healthy, interactive and so many ++ it would be wrong to squash it.

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I agree that you shouldn’t HAVE to club up, it should definitely be voluntary… not a problem for me personally. :+1:

We won’t be calling them “toys” much longer though… it’ll be interesting to see if things tighten up a bit on all the parts and accessories we bring in from overseas suppliers now they’re reclassified… :thinking:

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You should take a look at SAPOL’s info on Regulation Imitation Firearms, as these are most applicable:

A Regulation Imitation Firearm
a) has a significant mechanical element to it that replicates the loading or firing
mechanism of a firearm; and
b) can readily be adapted to function as a firearm.

This is why metal replicas with realistic actions are illegal without a permit in SA.

Importantly, we have a “children’s toy” exemption, but they still consider whether these items can be “readily converted to be an actual firearm capable of firing a projectile”. This is likely why we have anecdotal reports of SAPOL not liking metal receivers on GBB’s.

SAPOL have also gone on the record in a 2018/2019(?) press conference saying that they had no interest in regulating “toys”, in the wake of a few blaster-related incidents.

Based on how badly this could have gone, the QLD proposal looks sensible, however unnecessary/unwanted it may be, and the sweet blaster goodness can keep flowing down to us in SA :slight_smile:

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Thanks, and yes I have read through all you suggested.

It’s a grey area, as Gel Blaster metal receivers are “pot metal” and no where near 7075 Aluminium grade used to withstand 62000 psi.