The Australian Border Force (ABF) is warning online shoppers and firearms enthusiasts to be very clear about Australian laws after an increase of gel ball blasters seized at the border.
In the last four weeks alone, almost 200 gel ball blasters have been detected in air cargo consignments without import permission and seized by ABF officers.
Despite often being marketed online as toys, the devices are incredibly realistic, are able to fire projectiles and can be very dangerous. They are controlled as Imitation Firearms under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 and importers must obtain permission from their state or territory police before importing them into Australia.
It is illegal to import these items without a permit and anyone attempting to do so can face fines of up to $525,000 and/or up to 10 years imprisonment.
ABF Superintendent Aviation Goods Brett Totten said many of these are items being sold by Australian websites, which may lead people to wrongly believe they are not controlled.
“Don’t be fooled by the marketing – many of these websites simply place an order from overseas on the buyer’s behalf,” Superintendent Totten said.
“If you buy one of these items online without having already obtained a permit you should expect that it will be seized at the border, you will lose your goods and your money and you could face criminal prosecution.”
“The ABF and our law enforcement partners are well aware of these products and the websites selling them. When those goods arrive at the border our officers will be waiting.”
If you have information on the illegal importation of firearms or weapons and related goods, contact Border Watch by visiting australia.gov.au/borderwatch. You can provide information anonymously.