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State Government needs to compensate small businesses affected by Gel Blaster ban

The Small Business Commissioner John Chapman has called on the State Government to compensate small businesses which have been virtually shut down overnight by changes to laws regarding gel blasters.

“It is simply not right that SA Police can use what I regard as coercive force with seemingly little regard to the livelihoods of those concerned,” Mr Chapman said.

“The Government needs to have a genuine review of this process and if they are determined to continue with the current changes, then they should compensate both businesses and arguably the purchasers of these items.”

“I would anticipate very few owners of gel blasters will apply for a firearms licence at a cost of $101 plus a $40 firearm registration fee plus the owner will have to undertake a TAFE course and ensure their gel blaster is locked up in a Category one gun safe.”

Mr Chapman said there had been a precedent for compensation with changes to the firearms laws in 1996.

“At the time, the Federal Government which was responsible for the changes put in place a compensation scheme in conjunction with the States due to the significant changes to firearm laws.”

“At a time when many small businesses are struggling and some failing due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing we need are deliberate government actions which financially disadvantage small businesses,” Mr Chapman said.

“Governments have a responsibility to do no harm and that must always include small
businesses.”

Mr Chapman said he would be pursuing the matter through the Police Minister Hon. Vincent Tarzia MP.