We’ve received an email from the Hon James Hayward with regards to the Gel Blaster Ban. He shared with us a letter he wrote to Paul Papalia on the behalf of the gelball community.
Thankfully, he addressed a few major points that we’ve been pushing and we’ll hope that a fellow Member of the Upper House will have a better chance of hearing back from Papalia than the rest of us.
But we’ll see. For now, it’s good to know that we’ve got another ally.
Re: Gel Blaster Ban
I am writing with regards to the ban on Gel Blasters announced by yourself on 14 June 2021, following a large amount of correspondence from constituents.
Based on the letters, emails and phone calls my office has received, a common complaint from the Gel Blaster community has been that there was not sufficient consultation with them prior to the ban. Further to this, the following issues have been raised by numerous constituents and I would appreciate your response to each point:
1. Why was no attempt made to regulate and license Gel Blasters?
2. What are claims that Gel Blasters can be converted to become real firearms based on?
3. Why are existing laws relating to carrying objects to cause fear or intimidate others not suitable in relation to Gel Blasters?
I note most other jurisdictions worldwide do allow Gel Blaster and AirSoft sports, and I question why attempts were not made to replicate best practice regulatory schemes here in Western Australia.
As with all community sporting groups the benefits the Gel Blaster community delivers should not be underestimated. As you will be aware, the mental health, physical health and social inclusion outcomes from people joining sporting and hobby clubs are significant for our society.
While I appreciate and support the WA Police being able to perform its duties in a safe manner for both themselves and the public, I urge you to reconsider the ban on Gel Blasters and work with the community and WA police to find a mutually acceptable solution to this issue.
Hon James Hayward MLC
Member for South West Region