So, this is an old blog post from several blogs ago. August 25, 2008. A friend of mine in Korea had sent me a box of goodies, including one toy plastic pistol and a bag of 2000 plastic balls. It was just a spring-loaded toy gun, so I’m told. I wouldn’t know, because…
I’ve been abused in the past for hating on Australia. I’d like to take this moment to write some positive words about this country. Specifically, I’d like to talk about Australia’s super-happy protective gun laws.
Let’s start with the backstory. A friend sent me an airsoft gun from Korea. Customs in Australia seized it and sent me an 8-page letter detailing the reasons for seizure and the methods for claiming the gun if I wanted to. Bottom line, I need an import license, the same license I’d need to import a high-powered hunting rifle, to import this $5 toy plastic gun.
Australia is so eager to protect its citizens that it has classed a toy gun in the same category as real rifles. I need a license to import it, but to get that I need a license to own it, but to get that I need a REASON to own it, and to get that I have to get permission from a landowner to shoot it on his property.
Someone who owns land needs to give me written permission to shoot a plastic gun on his land.
The government needs to give me a license to shoot this plastic gun on his land.
The government needs to give me a license to import this plastic gun to shoot on his land.
The government needs me to apply to get my newly licensed toy gun out of customs.
Let’s be clear: It’s a plastic gun. It shoots plastic pellets. It has a spring inside, it’s not a high-powered maglev CO2-driven armour-piercing plastic gun. It can’t pierce the skin of any normal human.
(a commenter from the original thread said it couldn’t possibly pierce the skin of a pudding, but it’s still too dangerous for Australia. He added, and I quote, ‘flaming plonkers’.)
So, an update.
I called Customs about the airsoft pistol they didn’t want me to have. They said I couldn’t import it without a permit, but in order to get a permit I needed to get a license, and for that I needed to know what category of wickedly dangerous firearm this plastic gun really was.
It’s a class H, an air powered pistol.
The customs guy assured me that in order to get a license I had to have the gun pass safety testing, which it wouldn’t because it’s plastic. Nice work, despite being plastic it’s dangerous enough to be outlawed, but because it’s plastic they couldn’t approve it for use. That was, he was quite firm in telling me, the end of it.
In Australia you also need a license to have ammunition. This must naturally extend to nearly weightless plastic BB pellets. Despite confiscating a bag of 2,000 pellets Customs left about 20 pellets in the box I received. “Oh,” I thought. “Oh shit, I’m in possession of illegal ammunition!” So I called Customs again, and the conversation went something like this:
“I need a license for ammunition, don’t I?”
“But you left 20 of them in the box.”
“Oh.. well, they’re just plastic balls.”
“Yeah, well, it was just a plastic GUN, and you need a license for THAT.”
“So do I need a license to dispose of them properly? Should I take them somewhere?”
“Well, they’re… Uh…”
and I think she started to doubt my mental faculties at this point:
she says “OK look, can you send them back to us?”
That’s right folks. In Australia you can’t have plastic guns and you need to send plastic balls to customs for safe, licensed disposal.
UPDATE: My dad points out I probably can’t send illegal ammunition through the mail.
The image shown for this post was yanked from a Google search. The source was this Youtube video which inexplicably has 32 million views.