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Gel Blaster Guns vs Laser Tag Guns

Posted on March 1, 2022

Gel Blaster Guns were classed as a "projectile toy" by a Queensland magistrate back in 2017 and since then they have become popular. But more recently gel blasters are facing some headwinds. 

As replicas, they look cool, but they only shoot gel bullets that consist mostly of water. Unlike paintball guns that shoot paint pellets or airsoft guns that shoot BB bullets the Gel Blaster ammunition is low impact. 

People, however, can still be charged in Queensland with weapon offenses if they use the toys in a public place or in a menacing manner. The Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services, the Hon Mark Ryan, has called for a review of the like-like toy guns after a spike in alleged criminal activity. 

Gel blaster products have been deemed to be toys in Queensland. A ruling was made in the Magistrates Court of QLD that Gel Ball Blasters are not firearms under the customs import regulations of 1956.  

Laws vary between the States and Territories, with gel blasters are prohibited in New South Wales and Victoria.

In other areas, the blasters fall into a grey area. And nowadays some insurance providers at demanding that gel blaster players are over 16 years old. 

Classified as Imitation Firearms in NSW  

The NSW government is the most strict, not only do they classify Gel Basters as imitation firearms they also require people to get a $75 permit. 

Apart from the registration of individual guns, an imitation firearm in NSW is treated as a firearm. 

For example, it must be stored in a secured location such as a gun safe. 

Recent media stories have reported have been negative:

* A man from South Granville was jailed for four months after he posted videos to Facebook showing himself brandishing two replica guns, nunchucks, capsicum spray, and handcuffs, and shooting at cockroaches inside his house. 

* Doctor Shaun Dai, an eye surgeon (Paediatric Ophthalmology) from the Queensland Children's Hospital in South Brisbane has treated a number of children with potentially blinding injuries from Gel Blaster Guns. In an example featured on A Current Affair, a 4-year-old child was shot point-blank by his 7-year-old brother causing a tear in the younger boy's cornea, blood pooling in his eye. The child is now left with a life-long risk of developing glaucoma. (The video clip has been watched more than 149,000 times.) 

* A Gel Blaster gun store opened in a Rockhampton shopping centre on a Monday in June but was asked to leave by centre management by the Wednesday after a series of complaints from shoppers.

What does the community think?

A petition on asking people to support Gel Blasters being unregulated in Queensland has gathered 1,664 supporters (as of the end of July 2019). 

Difference Between Gel Blasters & Laser Tag Guns (And Airsoft / Nerf / Paintball) 

You might be asking yourself the difference between a gel blaster vs nerf. Or the difference between a gel blaster and laser tag. Or even the difference between a gel blaster and paintball or airsoft.

Basically, all enable gamers to play live-action combat missions.

Whereas nerf guns shoot a foam pellet and airsoft guns shoot BB bullets, and paintball markers shoot paint pellets, instead of gel basters shoot gel balls. Laser Tag guns, on the other hand, do not shoot any projectiles. In fact, Laser tag guns emit a harmless infrared beam, just like a TV remote. 

Enthusiasts love the cosplay element of gel baster guns - they look like the real McCoy because they are in fact replicas. While these toy "water pistols" are great for hobbyists for people who are seeking commercial-grade live gaming equipment then a professional solution, such as equipment from Battlefield Sports would be a better solution.

Gel Blasters have trouble working in the rain. Whereas the laser taggers, such as the Cobra model, have a gasket around the seam. This gives it an IP rating of 65. 

Gel Blaster Legislation & Regulations: Recent Changes 

The laws around who can play with gel blasters have been changing around Australia. 

In October 2020, South Australia changed the laws so people under 18 cannot play with gel blasters. And adults must get a permit or hand their weapons to the police. There's a 6 month moratorium period, that is due to finish in April 2021. 

In Tasmania, there is a case before the courts of a matter of a business using nerf cases and gel blaster internals. It will be interesting to see how that case pans out. 

In 2020, in Queensland, it was reported that Queensland Police have responded to 352 crimes involving gel blasters.

And 85 charges were laid (during the last 2 years).

Designed to target criminals the new Queensland laws mean the gel blaster players must be registered members of a gel blaster sporting association or being a member of a replica gun club. 

which is a gel blsater?

In Summary 

Summing up, Gel Blasters are quite different to laser taggers. 

While popular they are now facing some challenging headwinds. 

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