Gel Blasters garner Gladstone support in election
THE rapidly expanding community of CQ Blasters enthusiasts across Gladstone and Central Queensland will be able to continue their sport under an LNP government, candidate Ron Harding said.
The Queensland Government passed the Corrective Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 on July 16, requiring owners to provide a reasonable excuse to possess a replica firearm.
Under the legislation, a reasonable excuse to own these toy guns, that shoot soft gel balls which absorb water, is you must be a firearms collector, or a member of an association that uses such items in recreational activities.
The Gel Blaster Association’s Chris Sinclair said in July there were 700,000 of the toy guns in circulation across Queensland.
CQ Blasters owners Damien Geyer and Leigh Vickerstaffe own stores and combat fields at both Gladstone and Rockhampton.
All participants at the fields must adhere to strict safety guidelines concerning protective equipment, plus where blasters can be safely loaded and shot.
Mr Harding visited the CQ Blasters Burua field on Saturday to discuss the legislation with the owners and participants.
Mr Geyer said One Nation candidate Kevin Jorgensen visited the field earlier on Saturday morning.
Mr Harding said it was great to see 50 locals out at the field enjoying the fun and healthy sport.
“LNP opposes the Palaszczuk Labor Government crackdown on these toys,” he said.
This legislation, Mr Harding said, would impact 150 Gel Blasters businesses in Queensland and the owners of about 1 million gel blasters enjoying one of Australia’s fastest growing sports.
“These events are conducted safely and professionally and bring the community together in a specially constructed setting,” he said.
“People like Damien and Lee are providing a valuable, safe and healthy community service, getting kids and adults off the couch and out doing fun, physical activities.
Mr Harding said while Labor was focusing on “toys”, the LNP would be targeting real crime and real criminals.
“The LNP will introduce tough new laws to prevent high risk individuals, like outlaw motorcycle gang members, obtaining, using or possessing a firearm.”
Qld Police Minister Mark Ryan said police had seen an increase in the number of incidents involving the misuse of gel blasters.
“Police are not suggesting a ban,” he said.
“The aim is to strike a balance to ensure people can still use gel blasters recreationally, while also protecting Queenslanders from harm.”
Police made recommendations to the state government to ensure safe and responsible use of the replica firearms, after a number of events involving the misuse of gel blasters.
Recommendations included transporting gel blasters carried in a suitable bag or case away from public view storing them securely away at home.
CQ Blasters owners Damien Geyer said his Gladstone store had been open since November and the Burua field has been operating for 18 months.
“We see up to 100 people between both our fields at Gladstone and Rockhampton every weekend on average,” he said.
“We love to encourage people having fun by getting active, getting kids off the couch and people out doors doing physical activity.
“We have regular disabled and disadvantaged groups that come out and enjoy the sport as it’s a very social sport.
“We have veterans with PTSD that come out to help them tackle their problems and local police officers who come out and join in the games.
“Entire families come out and play for some family bonding time in a sport that promotes teamwork.”
Mr Geyer said they were going through council approval processes for 120 acres (48 hectares) of land they bought at Gladstone to create up to five CQ Blasters battle fields.
“We want people in the community to have a safe place where they can use their gel blasters and enjoy them,” he said.
“Ron, if elected, is going to look into getting some funding to assist us.”
Gel Blasters are classed as a replica firearm in all states except Queensland after the South Australian Government recently passed law reforms.