Airsoft hits hard hurdle

By Riverine Herald

LAYERS of state and federal government legislation could stop a growing sport from making its way to Australian shores.

Last month, Liberal Democrats MP for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty launched a petition to have airsoft — a skirmish game similar to paintball in which participants shoot 6mm bbs at each other — legalised in Victoria.

“Many Australians would not have heard about Airsoft, but it is a healthy pastime,’’ Quilty said.

“Northern Victoria in particular could be a major beneficiary if we legalise the sport because it would attract thousands of visitors.’’

Currently, importation of Airsoft equipment falls under the federal government’s jurisdiction — Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (the Regulations) — meaning permission is required to bring them into the country.

Despite the regulations, airsoft firearms can be imported under the police certificate test administered by state and territory police.

Although the laws regarding the implementation of the sport and licensing of firearms falls into the state and territory government’s jurisdiction.

Even if airsoft was to be legalised, local businesses say they are not interested.

‘‘It wouldn’t be practical for us to offer the sport as an option,’’ Peter Spencer from Echuca Paintball said.

‘‘There is too much liability and we don’t want to be running the risk.

‘‘Financially it could be beneficial, but in the long run it isn’t viable.’’