Mid-North Coast paintball enthusiasts are celebrating legislation changes scheduled to begin on July 1.
Under the NSW government reforms the minimum age to play will be lowered from 16 to 12 years.
Paintball guns, which use dye-filled gelatin balls, will also be removed from the Firearms Act and moved into the NSW Fair Trading Act, but will still be required to be used at an authorised venue only.
The legislation was originally discussed on March 22 and announced in August 2018 in an attempt to modernise the sport after years of lobbying.
Mid-North Coast paintball director Glenn Etheridge said paint markers should never have been in the Firearms Act.
"They changed it because they realised we just didn't fit in the category of firearms," said Mr Etheridge.
"They're non-lethal, you can't put anything through them apart from a paintball.
"They will still be governed by a paintball act so that you can only shoot a paintball marker at an approved range.
"No-one can get a paintball marker and walk around the streets."
Under the changes, paintball guns will be moved from NSW Police to the Department of Finance, Service and Innovation and will no longer be classified as a prohibited firearm.
Online licensing will be available for fields and private persons, however a person must be 18 to purchase a paintball gun.
Mr Etheridge said transporting a paintball gun currently had similar consequences to holding an unlicensed shotgun.
"To get people into the sport was really difficult," he said.
"They had to have a firearms licence, they had to have a special category which took three to six months in the past.
"By the age of 16 most people have usually already chosen a sport.
"Getting them at a younger age (of 12) we can hopefully get a competition up and running."
Many paintball ranges already host a five metre surrender rule, provide protective chest plates, face masks, gloves, barrel socks and smaller paint balls to minimise injury.
Rapid Fire Paintball Mid-North Coast director Vincent Briffa said the changes have been the industry's biggest battle since he was a teenager.
"We're been fighting for this for many, many years," said Mr Briffa.
"It's been a long time coming in the industry since I started playing paintball when I was 18, I'm 45 now.
"It was something that was regulated but should never have been.
"Although I had to have a gun licence to have a paintball gun permit, it's something I never wanted."
Mr Briffa said the benefits to young paintball players included teamwork, communication, fitness, confidence-building and use by schools as a reward for good behaviour.
In addition to the industry changes, paintball operators caught conducting improper operations without a licence will face up to two years imprisonment and a $110,000 fine.
Tactical Paintball Games Moorland games director Warren Baxter-Lane said it may create more business and encourage outdoor activities for children.
"It's been in Western Australia and South Australia for years and they have had no issues," said Mr Baxter-Lane.
"I like that they have upped the penalties and that's what they've got to do.
"Just to stop people shooting their neighbours' house or up the street, they need to know they'll be hammered with a $110,000 fine.
"You used to be able to borrow guns from other ranges for big bookings and they are going to allow that again, which is good."
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