In a stroke of disappointment earlier today the Corrective Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 was passed in Queensland Parliament. This bill is now bringing into regulation as restricted items all replica firearms in Queensland, including gel ball blasters and deactivated Category A, B & C firearms.
What this means is that once the bill commences in Queensland you will require a ‘reasonable excuse’ to possess a replica firearm in Queensland.
Only two reasonable excuses are declared by the regulation, either you have to have a collectors license and possess the gel ball blaster as part of your collection.
“(b) both of the following apply—
(i) the person is the holder of a collector’s licence;
(ii) the person’s reason for possession or acquisition of the replica of the firearm is for it to be part of the holder’s collection of weapons.”
Or you can possess the gel ball blaster as a member of an association that uses such items in recreational activities for use in said activities.
“(a) both of the following apply—
(i) the person is a member of an association, whether or not incorporated, that provides recreational activities involving replicas of firearms and the activities are conducted other than in, and in a way not reasonably able to be seen from, a public place;
(ii) the person’s reason for possession or acquisition of the replica of a firearm is to participate in the recreational activities;”
Keeping in mind that the legislation does not specifically limit the reasonable excuses that will keep you safe from a conviction, but if police do charge you with possession you had best hope your reasonable excuse holds up with your local magistrate. Given our experience with how courts tend towards viewing the Weapons Act, we would suggest to be on the safe side you comply with one of the two declared excuses to have a replica firearm.
Now fortunately if you are an FOU member in Queensland you can just send us an email and join our Queensland incorporated association that will help provide you with the required reasonable excuse.
If you aren’t a member already just join up and hit the checkbox to make sure you are put straight into the Queensland Incorporated Association.
This won’t come at any extra cost to our members. Now you might think this is a bit of a selfish cash grab, but we were the only body to raise objections to this requirement in the inquiry as being fundamentally a cash grab to organisations that are putting together gel ball games. Whilst we have consistently opposed this regulation, it is now here and we will help our members comply to meet the new requirements.
Also keep in mind that once the Bill is passed into law (via ascent from the Governor of Queensland), it will have full force of law, so you best be in compliance with the changes by that point in time. One of the lesser known changes will be that these items will now require some form of secure storage, whilst it is not required to be to the same standard as a firearm, some sort of locked container is required.
As we stated in our submission on the Bill we completely oppose this change, it does not serve to provide an improvement to community safety and misses the mark. It is simply a nanny state exercise in regulating what amount to little more than fancy water guns.