Save Gel Ball a united front - for all Australia

First I would like to ask of the Admins or the Moderators, we have two topics running that are both firing on the same information. One is in General under SA laws/regs something fishy and the other in Industry news about No new imports in SA reg 709. As they are both pointing at the same topic and coming to the same answers, can they be combined into one package?

The next is this topic, it is not for the same purpose, I hope to have the person from FB page “I Support Gel Ball Sports”, join and keep us updated as much as possible with the same information for the members who do not wish not join FB, or failing that, have input from here taken by a member who is on FB on their behalf. Likewise, they can also bring back feedback from the page.

I realise a forum is not as easy as FB with oversize writings, as they do not shrink down with the option to open upon request. However, if we are going to try and be a united form of people trying to save our sport, then I believe we should exhaust every avenue. With that said, this page is not for any more than positive and productive suggestions and if you should write a letter as per the one I will post next, then that also will be acceptable. All other off topic and negative posts should not be kept on this page to avoid clutter and misleading topic discussion.

Thank you, Jeff

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Hey Y’all…
Below is a copy of a well written letter sent in by one of the team captains of prominent SA skirmish team, SSB.
It has some good pointers if your feeling stuck as to what to write to your local MP’s

Good Evening Sir,

My name is Kurtis Winter and I am writing to you with regards to the potential banning of gel blasters in SA.

I come to you, a veteran on a mission.

Having served 11 years in the full-time Army, I have only recently left full-time service to continue my career as a reservist.

During my tenure I served this great nation in both East Timor and Afghanistan on operations Astute and Slipper.

I would like to advocate for Gelsoft and Gel Blasters in SA, as I see the benefits for not only the individual but for the state as a whole.

I only became aware of Gelsoft in 2018 and since, have immersed myself in the sport!

Gelsoft offers an all encompassing environment for both the able bodied and disabled, bringing those that would normally stay indoors out into the world. It provides them with a support network and encourages them to be active amongst their peers.

It is excellent for social networking and physical fitness.

I personally, along with other veterans have also seen the benefits for those suffering with mental health issues.

We become different people, it gives us a purpose, something to look forward to, focus on and invest in.

Its a break from reality where we can role play and enjoy ourselves with like minded people… Rather than stare into and empty bottle of whiskey whilst we play video games and slowly waste away.

The sport also has benefit for state revenue, with the sale of blasters and the use of fields and facilities which is something the state could tap into, without making it impossible for us to continue having fun.

The fact is that gel blasters are merely toys, despite how they look, they only difference between them and a cap ■■■ is that they shoot small gel pellets… Biodegradable, soft,

NON-LETHAL pellets.

Personal safety is also paramount with many posters, publications, pamphlets and instruction given in stores, on fields, online and in the box when you purchase a blaster. Glasses that come standard with the blaster also risk mitigate eye injury, which is the only real injury concern.

Sure there is a risk that some people may use them to do the wrong thing, but they could do the same with a cap ■■■; or fingers shaped like a ■■■ in a jacket pocket… But they arent going to ban fingers now are they?

I think I speak for most in the community when I ask for your support in helping us keep gel blasters. We are a reasonable bunch of people who see this as a sport, we are open minded and can accept restrictions such as permits or even licences.

This topic has been discussed at length and most would be happy with an age restriction of 14+, a permit or licence system.

Perhaps even mandatory memberships to clubs or associations as a valid reason to own a gel blaster.

Most also agree that if necessary blasters should have a red muzzle tip to denote them as a toy and should only be carried to and from venues in a carry case or bag.

With the above taken into consideration, if those terms were to be breached, those found in breach would face the full weight of the law with regards to firearms. That alone would perhaps dissuade others from doing the same.

We just need a to be given a chance, we need to be heard and it is my hope that you can show the community…your community, some support and be our voice.

Kind regards, Kurt.

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if i haven’t done squat about this…or others haven’t in a day or so, remind me

Well it is as it says simply put, we have two topics going on about the same article. combining it wold clean up the forum for us all. As far as making positive moves, the reaction to Cory Wingards letter and the SAPOL commissioner to label blasters as firearms is causing a bit of “what next” thinking.
So there is an action group who has a few skirmish clubs onboard and they are all stating their reasons for not going overboard on it and working with SAPOL as opposed to being lambs and led to the end of the line. The belief is, if we work together we can come to an amiable solution as opposed to one that will cause us all to conform to the letter of the law according to some form of trivial ballistics rule that does not truly apply.
As we have members who do not use FB this is a page where they can see and have a say or write their letter and if wanted have it put up on FB for others to see, via a friend, member, for the purpose of assisting the single goal.

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yes…but i’m trying to get out the door eh :stuck_out_tongue:

Not straight away …jeebus…LoL

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Nice work mate. I was starting to worry when the thread I put up about import permits wasn’t really going anywhere.

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Just wanted to drop this here for those not on facebook, I posted this 4 hours ago.

I just want to share the experience our Gel Blasting / Gel Soft Group had this morning.

So with COVID19 restrictions & a shortage of places on fields we booked a 2.5 hour game this morning on an indoor (because of the forecast rain) paintball field but we arranged to use our Gel Blasters.

The owners were super nervous/up tight at the start (which is not a knock on them it was just noticeable and with the recent media coverage understandable), particularly about our blasters but after we ran our own safety briefing and knocked out a game or two they relaxed a lot (I think they realised in particular that paintballs hit a lot harder).

At the end when we were packing up the owner was asking us about how many rounds we used, what setups other fields have, how much they charge for sessions & hire etc an amazing turnaround really to the point where I thought he might be considering expanding into gel blasting (they had the old first gen laser tag running there long before paintball).

The whole experience really re enforced for me that the irresponsible biased reporting by the Media & SAPOL with their scare tactics is just so so damaging. The average person on the street will fear gel blasters and has no clue that these things are pretty harmless when used in an appropriate manner with the correct safety equipment.

In SA we all need to start trying to reach more people like this & really change the narrative that the biased media have set & that I am sure SAPOL and the politicians would like to see continue.

I would love to hear some ideas from the rest of you about how we are all going to reach more non Gel ballers and educate them ?

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Way to go mate, I play on my own 3800 acre private property with friends. Everyone I know is good with GB and that is a lot of people. :+1:

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You should not include this, they are toys and if you say that they are dangerous they will say that this is a good reason for them to be banned

Nor this. The reasons being, if we make it known that we are willing to accept some regulation, they will push for more and not less. It is much easier to fight for less regulation than it is to overturn something that has been written into law.

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I am afraid this is where we differ. The new ACCC laws define toys as being for 14yrs or younger! Even Gel Blasters have started grading Kids gel Blasters rated at 150fps…Some of theses so called Toys as you say, are firing hardened pellets at rates that exceed that of a licensed requiring Fire-armm. How can you not say they are dangerous when the problem is not us but the morons who can access them and use them without a good reason. Mandatory may be a bit harsh and could be termed as justified reason with the right to refuse sale.

I said once before, no special licence is needed, your drivers licence will suffice and it is recorded on a national database against the Gel blaster you buy, no licence then photographic I.D. must be presented. If you think that is wrong, then you have something to hide, as we most all use a drivers licence and do not complain.

If we were smart, we would have been pro-active and self regulating in the first place, but we are not. Instead we are out there hoping for the day wind-soft is legal in Oz…well it is never going to happen. Be happy with what we have, look after it and do something POSITIVE, because as I said at the start, this particular thread is for positive movement and not for NEGATIVE. If you feel that something can be said better, don’t just tear it apart like every other time someone tries to start an action group, suggest an alternative, if you don’t have one then say nothing…!!!

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They will take them all away if you give them reason to believe that they are even the slightest bit dangerous. Gel Blasters is less dangerous air soft. The ACCC can label it how it likes, and this is the perfect example of how legislation is very very easy to put in place. I suspect said legislation was put into place deliberately to prevent such hiccups happening in the future and an attempt to issue a blanket ban on gel blasters across Australia.

The only reason that they are accessible is that they are labeled as toys; this label has allowed the industry to explode in popularity and made gel blasters available to the everyday enthusiast, and if we are to believe that most people are normal, sensible people, then there is no reason that they should not be labeled as toys.

As I have stated, legislation is easily put in place, but never overturned. You say now that you are happy to compromise with this legislation, however, will you be happy to “compromise” with legislation that says you must bolt down a safe in your house? What about legislation that says you must have police ensure that you have done so? Accepting legislation is a slippery slope and always opens the door to more harsher measures.

As I said before…

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Look, I wasn’t ripping on you, just merely stating that if you give them an inch they will take a mile - and a mile we can’t get back. We can all agree that 99.999% people that own gel blasters are good and reasonable people. Even the SAPOL commissioner said that Gel Blasters were a non issue. For these reasons it isn’t worth giving up our hobby, an industry, and sport due to the smallest minority of owners, I can only think of one, maybe two incidents that have made it into the news here in SA.

You asked for constructive criticism, I gave you some really good criticism on what you should change and the reasons why you should change your letter - being that there is no compromising with the government.

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the QLD government tried to do the same thing a while back but a balistic lawyer explained everything and they new laws didnt pass (dont quote me on that, not to sure)

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this is not my post but was posted on the face book group: Gel Blasters Association of Australia Group - South Australian Discussion

Gel-blaster master – Possible Ban

The emergence of an activity

When a business or activity begins to grow organically (this means that it an idea or business that starts from scratch), generally it will quickly gain momentum and interest grows rapidly by those enthusiastic to embrace the positive nature of the activity.

The enthusiasm also drives a commercial component which many are keen to embrace and pursue for financial gain. Enthusiasm is a positive and strong driver for many involved in emerging activities and can lead to great outcomes, fun, financial enterprise and positive social interaction through sporting type activity.

However, there are many negatives that also emerge simultaneously to the new activity and they can have devastating effects on those committed to genuine and positive growth.

It is here that the problems can override the legitimacy of the activity creating opposition from those that may be ill-informed or are commercially challenged or legally concerned that the activity may have counteracting negative social effects this generally leads to challenges, socially, politically and legally.

How does a legitimate activity gain respect and credibility?

  1. Leadership

Those that care or have the most at stake, generally will provide the strongest and most passionate leadership, however commitment and emotion do not address the full criteria as there are social and political skills of understanding, negotiation and respect that will be required for the organisation to be able to articulate itself in a challenging environment. Strong leadership is good but intelligent strong leadership will be better.

  1. Knowledge

It is vitally critical to the support of the activity, that a full understanding of the nature of the activity is articulated honestly. It is important the information is honest and credible and that there is not a multitude of opinions and incorrect information coming from within the activity, this can have the effect of “divide and conquer” by those in strongest opposition. Target the opposition by fully understanding their viewpoint and diplomatically challenging without anger, insults or negativity.

  1. Unity

In any walk of life, unity and co-operation are the most positive drivers for gaining respectability. It is imperative, that the activity promote itself in the most positive light and be well organised, professional and respectful in its approach to those that pose the greatest threat. It is vitally important that the individuals involved in your activity are united and strong and speak with one voice. Division and infighting will be a sure way to destruction.

  1. Organisation

The organisation needs to rally and form an “official association”. It is imperative when dealing with legal, political and social challenges. Large scale “unified” membership of an official organisation provides the strongest platform for high level negotiations. A well-co-ordinated and professional image must be presented to ensure that respectability and communication achieve the greatest effect.

Well-presented and articulate representation will always provide clear and unified messaging to those who pose the greatest threat or more importantly to those who may still be trying to formulate an opinion or make a decision on the future of your activity.

  1. Representation and mobilisation

It will be vitally important that the head or representative of the organisation has the passion to articulate in a strong respectful and informative manner and that they are able to rally support from the membership and provide a strong platform for interaction with those opposed to the activity.

It is important that speed and accuracy are mobilised quickly so that the activity has a credible “go-to” spokesperson. Avoid as much as possible having a broad range of individuals making comments that may not be the organisations true position.

  1. Petitions

It is generally felt that petitions are a way of mobilising support, this is true in some respects, however, the messaging in a petition should be well structured and ensure it provides a unified and clear indication of the outcomes as well as trying to counter those opposed to your activity.

The organisation would be well advised that generally starting a petition, could in fact incite early opposition and if picked up by politicians, law enforcement of the media can draw unwanted negative attention to the activity, before it has time to consolidate its respectability.

  1. Negotiation

It is vitally important, that the organisation is sure about what it really wants, but also has a list of concessions it may be prepared to consider as a trade off to keep the activity alive. If strong and belligerent attitudes, start demanding with no compromises, then it could create an immovable impasse that will reflect negatively on achieving a positive outcome.

  1. Image

Ask the questions of your organisation.

i) Who are we?

ii) What do we represent?

iii) Are we a sport?

iv) Are we a business?

v) Do we have economic data to the financial contribution to the State economy?

vi) Do we have respectability?

vii) Who is in our organisation or activity that may have a highly respected legal or political profile?

viii) Is there a point of difference with other States?

These questions if answered honestly will provide the profile of your association to those you will be dealing with that may be opposed to giving you activity legitimacy.

Summary

As listed above, the success or failure of an activity can be complex and challenging. It will not be easy dealing with those opposed to your activity. Early engagement with the key persons, politically, legally and socially must move quickly and professionally.

It is vitally important, that quick action to organise into a well led and well organised representative association is the first priority in trying to ensure the long-term survival of your activity.

Note the bit where we will have to be willing to bend on some points toward regulation (I know, I don’t like it either) to find a compromise.

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Very good find mate. I don’t go on FB much for health reasons LoL…You have summed it up with a very succinct last sentence. I don’t like it either, but we cannot be burying our heads in the sand anymore, because all that is left to see will be an ass!

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I think you may be getting two different issues crossed here.

Ballistics expert was in NSW and that was just to stop Brad Towner from Armoured Heaven being thrown in jail for “firearms trafficking”.

QLD the fight is not really over as I understand it, the Labour party said they wont support a bill but I do not think the state government need their support it for it to pass. COVID19 has slowed everything there but I do not think their issue is gone.

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Wouldn’t that require unique serial numbers on every blaster, and then how do you account for bitzer builds? Which part has a serial number? What if I custom build one from scratch? Put a gearbox in a nerf? Etc

Not sure how you would record a person to a blaster without regulating the absolute crap out of everything…

What are your thoughts on this?

If you’re referring to that email, that was the LNP that wouldn’t support it. One Liberal Senator and one National (their names escape me at the moment)

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