Airsoft and pellet gun laws in Australia – No Airsoft for you!
Airsoft guns are pellet guns, they come in different types, but Airsoft weapons are essentially, non lethal plastic air or gas powered pellet guns (generally AIR thus the name). Given this post covers the topic of firearms in Australia, I have no doubt this post will have its detractors, but hey we’re all entitled to an opinion. Maybe this will also open the mind to issues like this and how sometimes things aren’t strictly black and white.
It’s Almost Halloween so….
Something like this
I needed a gun for my costume. Being a bit of a pedant, I wanted it to look real, but not be real (obviously). Airsoft guns are just the ticket. When I lived in the UK I collected Airsoft pistols and had quite the collection, they were a hoot to use for target shooting in the back garden. I had one particular favorite, a Walther P99 CO2 with under-mounted laser sight along with a bunch of random Airsoft Glock models and H&K models. I knew there were different laws here in Australia, so started to look into it, looking for an Airsoft seller, Airsoft club etc. Things didn’t go so well.
I AM ANTI-FIREARMS…
Oh what a dichotomy! – It may seem strange for someone who collected replica firearms to say, but I am actually anti-firearms. I don’t think there’s a need for your average Joe or Jill to own a gun that can kill someone. I get the “right to bear arms”, and sure I agree anyone should be able to protect them and theirs with reasonable force, I just don’t think blowing someone away is reasonable. The thing is I also believe as an adult I should be able to own something that is non lethal, like an Airsoft pistol. The problem of course – I assume – is that some chump might wave a plastic gun around in the wrong place and end up on the wrong side of an actual police bullet, since it seems Aussie police do like to whip out their sidearms, even when someone is using a melee weapon as opposed to an actual missile weapon…. not so good.
Airsoft look realistic which is a bit of a problem
So you see the problem….
Plastic pellets = Ammo
Despite this being what the ammunition for Airsoft weapons looks like (yes little plastic balls – if you look closely at the MP5 above, you’ll even see these scattered on the foam) I guess unless you take out the magazine, you’re not going to see that.
For those wondering, the most damage these can do is leave a little red welt and that’s from a more powerful air gun. Given I’ve felt the pain of both, I would have to say your average paintball shot taken to the body hurts more than an Airsoft round.
To get an airsoft gun in Australia you must…
With regards to the Halloween costume I contacted a gun store (oh sure, you can buy ACTUAL guns in Queensland) to see what hoops I would need to jump through to get a pretend, plastic gun, that fires little plastic pellets and at worst give a little sting if fired at point blank range. Here’s the reply:
All guns are licensed in Australia. Therefore you need a license before you can do anything. Pistols – including air pistols – are a much stricter license which takes about 12 months to get. I would advise going with a longarms license to start with. Contact the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia. They will be able to help with getting the license – as you have to do a safety course before you apply for the license, and they also run the safety courses.
They will also be able to help with the costs involved and how long it will take. You will probably need to join them – to use as your reason for wanting a license.
Ahhh the “costs involved” of course and then one would assume a further membership fee and safety course fee? I see what you’re up to. But I don’t want a safety course, the only safety I need is, don’t fire the plastic pellets at people, particularly squishy parts of people, like eyes. Damn you Airsoft + Stupid People + Realism!
Airsoft Clubs / Groups in Australia
Bless them, they do try. There is a movement to TRY and get Airsoft legalized in Australia that won’t need a proper gun license. Back in the UK one of my friends is REALLY into Airsoft, he has the entire getup, the camo, the guns and him and his mates go to a field / woods (usually hired) and take plastic potshots at each other with their pretend guns, no license required, you see in the UK the licensing laws are based on muzzle velocity, clever. That means something with a lame muzzle velocity (how fast the projectile travels) like say, a plastic Airsoft pistol isn’t classed as, ya know, something that fires ACTUAL deadly bullets.
Oh and for those wondering, you need to do the whole licensing thing for a paintball gun here in Australia as well. So essentially we are getting people who would probably never be tempted to buy a REAL gun, to gain a license and training that would allow them to do so, all so they can use a toy gun… see the issue here anyone?
For those wondering I solved the Halloween gun issue by borrowing a martial arts practice gun… that ironically looks real at a distance.
Images and info:
Airsofen, Pbase, Veryuseful. Airsoft Australia