Misuse of gel blasters cause concern for police and players
THE POPULAR and fast-growing sport of gel ball has sparked controversy, with some mistaking the blasters for real weapons.
Queensland Police were called to more than 220 incidents related to the misuse of gel blasters so far this year, compared with just six incidents in 2017.
Gel ball is similar to paintball, except a licence isn't required to buy a gel blaster in Queensland, unlike paintball guns.
Speaking at a state government community forum in Rosewood last week, Detective Senior Sergeant Troy Whittle educated residents about the sport and its equipment.
Rosewood is home to one of many playing fields in South East Queensland.
"You have a gel ball field here, so you need to be mindful that these things are in the community," he said.
Tim Roach is a gel ball enthusiast and runs a local group for players in Ipswich.
He said it was a great way for people to keep fit and socialise but he was fearful for the future of the sport.
"You find a lot of the people who play this sport are ex-computer game players. I mean, it's a pretty natural progression that they spend a lot of time running around in computer games, now they realise they can go out and do it and have fun in real life.
"The thing is, the majority of people are doing the right thing. There's always going to be a small group that do the wrong thing and they ruin it for everybody.
"In the main, people in the community don't approve of such behaviour and it is actually quite concerning for the future of the sport.
"It's not what they do and how they perform, it's how they look that's causing all the issues."
Queensland Police worked with the gel ball community to roll out the Stop and Think campaign, encouraging people to learn the laws before purchasing a blaster.
People who carry an unconcealed gel blaster in public could face a penalty of two years imprisonment.
Those who point and fire a blaster at another person without their permission could face three to seven years imprisonment.
A permit is required to import a blaster into Queensland.