With the reintroduction of Bill C-21, we've updated the form letter below. You'll find text that you can paste into an email or send via letter to your member of parliament. We always believe that including personal stories of how airsoft has positively impacted you or your community will make your message more powerful, so you should feel free to include something of your own. However, ensure any content you add is respectful, reasonable, and relatable.
You can use this site to look up their contact information.
[Your Business (If Applicable)]
[Your Address Line 1]
[Your Address Line 2]
[Name of Member of Parliament]
House of Commons
Dear [Name of Member of Parliament]:
I am writing to voice my concerns regarding the reintroduction of Bill C-21. Specifically, amendments to Section 84(1) and Section 84(3.2) of the criminal code. These state, respectively:
"The definition replica firearm in subsection 84(1) of the Criminal Code is replaced by the following:
replica firearm means any device that is designed or intended to exactly resemble, or to resemble with near precision, a firearm that is designed or adapted to discharge a shot, bullet or other projectile at a muzzle velocity exceeding 152.4 m per second and at a muzzle energy exceeding 5.7 Joules, and that itself is not a firearm, but does not include any such device that is designed or intended to exactly resemble, or to resemble with near precision, an antique firearm; (réplique)"
"Certain firearms deemed to be prohibited devices
(3.2) For the purposes of sections 99 to 101, 103 to 107 and 117.03, a firearm is deemed to be a prohibited device if
(a) it is proved that the firearm is not designed or adapted to discharge a shot, bullet or other projectile at a muzzle velocity exceeding 152.4 m per second or at a muzzle energy exceeding 5.7 Joules; and
(b) the firearm is designed or intended to exactly resemble, or to resemble with near precision, a firearm, other than an antique firearm, that is designed or adapted to discharge a shot, bullet or other projectile at a muzzle velocity exceeding 152.4 m per second and at a muzzle energy exceeding 5.7 Joules."
The addition of the aforementioned sub-sections has an adverse influence on the safe recreational activities of airsoft and paintball.
During 2021, the airsoft and paintball community made numerous economic arguments as to why Bill C-21 was harmful to our sports. Airsoft in Canada (ASIC) collected data indicating that the industry contributes $75 to $100 million to the economy in Canada; that 318 businesses employing an estimated 1500 Canadians are connected with the airsoft or paintball community. It was determined that over 70% would lose half their revenue, and almost 50% would close.
The owner of 007 Airsoft in Calgary said:
"My wife and I decided to move to a new facility and to open an airsoft game park beside our newly renovated store along with our 8 employees. We spent all of our revenue to do this, because our business has been growing for the past 23 years, and there was never any indication that this was going to be ripped away. If Bill C-21 passes, we would lose everything that we have worked so hard for"
ASIC estimated there are 64,000 members of the paintball and airsoft communities across the country, with almost 30,000 living in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. A survey done by the provincial airsoft organization of Quebec, Fédération Sportive d’Airsoft du Québec (FSAQ), indicated that over 70% do not own a real firearm. They are a diverse mix of ethnic, cultural, gender, political, and social identities. Many report airsoft and paintball have been instrumental assisting them with a healthy, active lifestyle. Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces find airsoft provides the community and camaraderie they lost when they exited service. These communities would be destroyed by the implementation of Bill C-21.
Airsoft and paintball are extremely safe sports. The BBs and paintballs are not fired with enough velocity to cause death, and as such the public safety risk posed by these devices is minimal. Even countries with strict gun control such as the UK and Japan have recognized this, and permit their sale and use. Bill C-21 proposes an outright ban on these devices. It does not seek to reduce the negative impacts to businesses or communities through regulation of sales or ownership.
In addition, the language of Bill C-21 makes it almost impossible for businesses or players to adapt to the changes. Classifying airsoft and realistic paintball markers as 'prohibited devices' and 'replicas' creates a number of legal challenges. Firstly, there is no clear criteria for what meets the definition of 'resemble with near precision'. Without this, owners are left unsure if their markers are prohibited. Businesses are unable to adjust existing inventory or confidently purchase compliant devices from suppliers. Additionally, the language leaves owners open to seizure, weapons trafficking charges, and incredibly - a duty to report these semi-fragile plastic mechanical toys as broken to police. Many other BB or pellet guns will not be impacted by this ban as they clearly do not meet the 'resemble with near precision' criteria, but are no less capable of being used in a crime.
In conclusion, I understand the goal of this bill is to increase public safety - an objective I support. However, the public will not be safer by prohibiting something unable to cause a risk to their lives. I urge you to further educate yourself by speaking with airsoft players in your riding. I also request that you work with airsoft representative groups such as ASIC, and the FSAQ to find suitable legislation that allows the continued growth of paintball and airsoft in our country. Do not let Bill C-21 eliminate a thriving and beneficial community!