http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21023502-1702,00.html This story is from our news.com.au network Source: AAP Call for national replica gun controls * * January 07, 2007 THE New South Wales Government wants tougher import regulations for replica and toy weapons and uniform laws to prevent them crossing state borders. Since 1999, 34 replica weapons seized by police were found to have been converted into firing weapons, Police Minister John Watkins said today. Replica weapons were mostly illegal in NSW and their use in crime carried the same penalties as using real weapons, but not all Australian states were as strict, Mr Watkins said. "In NSW we regard replica firearms as a prohibited weapon, but in Western Australia they are defined as a toy," he said. "Police tell me there is a growing trend of replica handguns being used in violent crimes, including armed robbery, assault and intimidation. "It's vitally important that other states and territories follow our lead in prohibiting replica firearms as this will limit the number crossing the NSW border." Mr Watkins called on the Federal Government to introduce an offence for cross-border replica firearms trafficking, similar to the laws that prohibit trafficking of real firearms. He also urged tighter import controls. Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec from the Firearms Crimes Squad said differentiating between real and replica weapons was difficult even for experts. "Replica pistols could be used daily against members of our community," Supt Kerlatec said. "We are talking about victims of crimes who have been subjected to a life-changing experience. They suffer psychological stress, emotional trauma for many years. "It's pretty difficult to tell the difference between a fake gun and a real gun, we don't want anyone to have to make that decision." Only armourers, theatre groups and other legitimate persons who applied for a replica permit were permitted to hold the weapons.