Police will no longer supervise guns used for paintball guns under a reform model adopted by the NSW cabinet.
The minimum player age at a licensed field from will drop from 16 to 12 years-old.
Legislation affecting the popular paintball game is set to receive an overhaul after cabinet approved the reform model submitted by industry stakeholders.
It followed a series of discussions held late last year between NSW Police, the paintball industry body, and other stakeholders facilitated by the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.
President of the Australian Paintball Industry Association Michael Whybrew said that he was “pretty happy” with the progress so far.
“There’s a lot of people that want to take up the sport for fun and they can’t right now because it’s too hard to get a licence,” he said.
“The best thing about our industry is the more people know, the better it is; there’s no dark secret about paintball.”
...they’ll get paintball, next year they’ll want deregulations on air-rifles, and after that we’re well on our way to an American gun culture
Under the Firearms Act 1996, paintball guns are listed as prohibited firearms and therefore require an individual to acquire a firearm permit and purchase storage equipment – with the whole process expensive and time-consuming.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Robert Borsak believes that “no one can actually explain” why paintball was regulated in the 1996 national firearms agreement.
“We’ve been working with the paintball industry for over five years. The industry now has a political voice and that’s us, and they’re saying we’re not going to cop it anymore.”
Reducing the minimum age to 12 addresses a common frustration in the industry; where children can’t play but are able to acquire a minor’s firearm permit, allowing them to handle real guns.
However, paintball reform has Greens member and gun-control advocate David Shoebridge worried about the potential for further deregulation of firearms legislation.
“We see this as just another way the gun lobby is attempting to promote a gun culture in Australia,” he said.
“This year they’ll get paintball, next year they’ll want deregulations on air-rifles, and after that we’re well on our way to an American gun culture and American laws.”
The approved model will be written up as legislation to be voted on in parliament before the end of the year.
This opportunity to introduce younger players to the sport has excited Ultimate Paintball Owner Peter Moss, who believes that the sport could grow from grassroot ages.
“Kids will be able to play in competitions as well, if they want to get involved in that and play competitively on a weekend instead of playing soccer,” he said.