By Colin MacGillivray
VICTORIA Police are concerned at the proliferation of gel blasters in the Mitchell Shire community, reportedly seizing the mock weapons on a weekly basis.
Gel blasters are toy guns that shoot water-filled gel projectiles, but are often indistinguishable from real firearms.
Gel blasters are prohibited in Victoria but are legal to own in Queensland, making it easy for people living in other states to purchase them online.
Seymour firearms officer Leading Senior Constable Chris Cummins said police were confiscating gel blasters on an increasing basis in Mitchell Shire.
“We’ve been seeing them pop up in the last six to 12 months, and in the last month or two they’ve made a very big comeback,” he said.
“People are buying them because they think they’re toys and they can have a bit of fun and shoot their mates in the back yard with little gel balls, but the problem is that they look 100 per cent like a firearm, so it’s a matter of time until someone pulls it on the wrong person and pays the ultimate price.”
Leading Sen Const Cummins said many people were unaware it was illegal to possess a gel blaster.
“The simple scenario is that they’re prohibited in Victoria, but people can buy them online and get them posted to their address,” he said.
“That causes two problems, because it’s an offence to bring them into Victoria and it’s an offence to possess them, but we’ve got lots of kids and even adults running around with them.
“People clearly aren’t aware they’re prohibited in Victoria and we want to get the word out there.”
People with a gel blaster can surrender it to police or a licenced firearms dealer under a national firearm amnesty program.
Firearms can be surrendered anonymously and without penalty under the program.
Police have strongly advised members of the public not to surrender firearms at police stations if practical, and if surrendering a firearm at a police station people must call the station to organise conditions of the surrender beforehand.
People can find more information on the safe surrender of firearms at crimestoppers.com.au/FirearmAmnesty.