I’ll apologise in advance for the lengthy post as my introduction, but I hope you see some value to it. I'm Chris Sinclair, the newly appointed treasurer of the GBAA. Today myself and Peter Clark (as well as representatives of other Gel blaster associations) met with the Queensland police service as part of the ongoing discussion around the legalities of Gel blasters in QLD. Specifically, in the room were representatives of the weapons licensing division, as well as Australian border force, Australian federal police and the department of home affairs. As my first attendance to one of these events it was an eye opening experience to the varying views of these departments and their interpretation of current legislation at both a state and federal level. The most enlightening part of this was getting an understanding of each of these divisions and the role they play in the process for both the gel blaster community, the resellers, as well as the expectation placed on them by the public.
Seeing how seriously all of these departments are taking the needs of our sport, and their willingness to work with us as a collective group of representatives for the community, was the most exciting part of it. The people presented to us, I felt, were the right people that could be our voice with the policy makers back at their respective head offices, with those parties given some homework for clarification that I feel could result in some positive outcomes for us. That said, today wasn’t all smooth sailing, what is evident is that there is pressure for these departments to manage the expectations of the concerned public, the retailers, as well as all of us, in a legislative framework that is still open to interpretation. While there is obviously the argument that these toys shouldn’t be examined under these laws at all, at the end of the day it has fallen into the laps of these guys to manage with limited resources at their disposal.
My key take outs for today we’re as follows, for retailers, make sure that you have your import permits submitted prior to ordering your shipment, if you think that you may be going to increase your order of a particular order, you are unable to amend it, however it is better to apply for a permit with a higher number and then fall short if that order isn’t placed. Also the longer lead times on import permits are a direct result of clogging up the communication lines with the policy of first in best dressed being the rule not the exception. For the players, the same rules apply, use common sense, treat your blaster like a real gun, keep it away from the general public. As members of this community I know that you will all support this message for the greater good, so please educate your friends and family that think that it’s a good idea to act like the imbecile on Mount Cootha last night, as there was discussion today of harsher penalties for these type of incidents, which everyone on both sides of the room supported. Given his previous meetings and history Pete will also likely share his views. Here’s the stop and think campaign flyer for sharing so let’s get it out there.