The Canadian Government has proposed Bill C-21, which will label replica firearms such as airsoft guns as prohibited weapons.
Airsoft is a popular sport that involves players split into two teams with the objective of eliminating the enemy team with replica firearms that shoot plastic pellets called BBs. However, unlike similar sports such as paintball, most airsoft guns are designed after real firearms.
According to Public Safety Canada, Bill C-21 is designed to increase gun control in Canada, along with combating gun violence and gun smuggling.
For the section of the bill on “protecting Canadians from gun violence,” one of the proposed changes is to ensure mid-velocity replica firearms are prohibited, which includes a vast majority of airsoft guns which are designed to look like real firearms.
The proposed bill has angered and frightened airsoft enthusiasts around the country as the legislation would outlaw their hobby.
Additionally, every business selling airsoft equipment would be forced to shut down if the bill passes, which will put thousands of Canadians out of business.
Ziming Wan, the tech manager of BlackBlitz Airsoft in Waterloo, Ont., emphasized how dangerous Bill C-21 is for the future of airsoft, and for citizens across Canada who have made Airsoft their livelihood.
“According to our survey, Airsoft is somewhere around a $75,000,000 to $100,000,000 industry in Canada, and around 3,000 employees would lose their jobs,” said Wan.
Wan expressed his frustration at the Canadian government for the proposed legislation, as he worries that his business will be shut down and himself and his employees will lose their jobs due to a lack of knowledge of airsoft.
“The fact that they’re even trying to pass something this ridiculous just shows how inept our current government is,” said Wan.
Many airsoft enthusiasts share the same fears that many airsoft businesses have regarding the future of the industry, one such person is Tate Busch, a 20-year-old Waterloo resident and avid airsoft player, often going to many of the airsoft skirmish days at Flag Raiders to play the sport.
“I’ve been going to many of the weekend games at Flag Raiders to play airsoft for a while now,” said Busch “Myself and many other airsoft players are worried about what this Bill will do to the industry.”
However, Busch does retain a sense of optimism that this bill will not be the end of airsoft in Canada. Busch suggested that instead of outright banning the sport, airsoft manufacturers could develop airsoft guns that clearly distinguish them from authentic firearms.
“I’m sure they that they could alter the designs for airsoft guns in Canada. For example, I am sure they can make the design of the weapons look more futuristic, similarly to what we see in video games such as Call of Duty,” said Busch.
Nonetheless, Bill C-21 remains a threat to both the airsoft industry and community in Canada, and many businesses and players are fighting to ensure that airsoft lives to see another day in their country.