The girl found the unsecured BB gun on a property in Ballina about 7:00pm on Tuesday night, police said. “We will allege that the air pistol was unsecured in a residential house, and she was able to get access to that,” Detective Chief Inspector Cameron Lindsay said.

He said the girl was treated at Ballina District Hospital and required surgery to remove the projectile.

“We’re now investigating the incident and we have seized that replica pistol, and we expect there will be charges to be laid,” Detective Chief Inspector Lindsay said.

“We have very strong and strict gun laws in New South Wales with respect to securing weapons and firearms.

“A replica air pistol – known as a BB gun – people may think is relatively harmless, but in the hands of a child it can be very dangerous.”