AusBlasters Plainland gelblaster store owner Rocky Ballerini. Picture: Dominic Elsome
AusBlasters Plainland gelblaster store owner Rocky Ballerini. Picture: Dominic Elsome

New gel blaster laws threaten family business

A LOCKYER gel blaster business won't be able to sell water-soaked gel balls to parents after a new bill passed parliament.

An amendment to the weapons act now means people will need a "reasonable excuse" to own and operate a gel blaster gun.

The new restrictions will ban anyone who is not a member of a registered Gel Blaster association, or the holder of a collector's permit, from owning one of the popular gel ball firing toys.

Owner of AusBlasters, a gel blasters store, Rocky Ballerini, who operates his shop from Plainland, said much of his customer base would disappear.

 

AusBlasters owners Tracey and Rocky Ballerini with Lockyer MP Jim McDonald.
AusBlasters owners Tracey and Rocky Ballerini with Lockyer MP Jim McDonald.

 

"Most of our customers are mums and dads buying blasters for their children or themselves to get the kids away from their screens," Mr Ballerini said.

"Without access to a local association much of my customer base will disappear."

It's a huge blow for the Lockyer Valley business, following two separate break-and-enters earlier this year.

Lockyer MP Jim McDonald said the ban would impact Lockyer residents and businesses.

"This crackdown on toys is a serious concern for many residents of the Lockyer," he said.

"Most who own a blaster simply do not have access to a nearby association or club to join, meaning they might have to turn in their toys."

 

AusBlasters Plainland gelblaster store owner Rocky Ballerini. Picture: Dominic Elsome
AusBlasters Plainland gelblaster store owner Rocky Ballerini. Picture: Dominic Elsome

 

Mr McDonald said the actions of a "few selfish individuals who do the wrong thing" would have serious implications on law-abiding Queenslanders.

"This government's priorities are wrong - cracking down not on outlaw bikies or drive-by shootings but on toy gel blasters" Mr McDonald said.

Since December 2017, a total of 89 individuals have been charged across Queensland for offences involving the use of a gel blaster.

In the same period, Queensland's registered gel blaster dealers have sold nearly 50,000 blasters a month.

Mr Ballerini had plans to expand his business by establishing a gel blaster playing field in the Lockyer Valley.

However, due to the new laws, the expansion is unlikely to go ahead.


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