ACT police say there's been a large increase in the number of illegal gel blaster firearms being seized across Canberra.
More than 80 gel blasters have been seized by police so far this year.
Gel blasters, which shoot water-filled gel balls, are made to function as air guns and often look and feel like military-style guns.
Police say they have responded to seven incidents last month alone involving gel blasters.
ACT police detective sergeant Rod Swain said in one incident earlier this year, a man carrying a gel blaster gun in public was shot with bean-bag rounds by police, after officers thought the man was carrying a real gun.
"Police couldn't be sure it wasn't a real one under the circumstances," Detective Sergeant Swain said.
"[Gel blasters] may seem like fun toys, but they're an illegal firearm in the ACT."
Gel blasters are banned in most Australian jurisdictions but remain legal in Queensland and South Australia.
Police say many gel blasters seized in the ACT have been purchased online from websites set up in Queensland, South Australia and overseas where they are readily available.
"They're not sold anywhere in the ACT, but many gel blasters come from mail orders from interstate," Detective Sergeant Swain said.
"It's illegal to possess them, it is illegal to import them into the ACT and those who do will face severe penalties.
"They're a prohibited firearm because they're an imitation of an actual firearm and because of the manner of how they operate."
Those found carrying a gel blaster can be charged with carrying a prohibited firearm, which comes with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Police say one of the largest risks posed by the gel blasters is having them being mistaken for the real firearms by members of the public and police.
"If police get called to an incident that relates to person with a firearm, it takes significant police resources to respond because we're responding to potentially a worst-case scenario," Detective Sergeant Swain said.
ACT police say those in possession of a gel blaster should hand it in to the police's exhibit management centre in Mitchell.
"We'll accept the surrender of the firearm there without seeking to prosecute," Detective Sergeant Swain said.