You're the Face of Airsoft Now - Ten Things You Need to Do
Updated: Feb 21, 2021
The introduction of legislation to prohibit airsoft has created a lot of emotions in the Canadian community. People are angry, sad, scared, and frustrated about the pending loss of their sport. It's important to feel those things and let them inspire you to action. However, this legislation has also had a side effect you might not realize: You've become the representative of the entire Canadian airsoft community to your friends, family, and everyone else in the country.
The role you now play is critical to ensuring airsoft continues in Canada. Perhaps even more so than writing letters and signing petitions. Why? Because alone, the airsoft community is not big enough to win this fight. It will require you to convince your social network and the strangers beyond it that airsoft is worth preserving. That's a tough challenge. Here are ten things you can do today that will help.
1. Acknowledge the opposing arguments and values
Realize you aren't going to convince everyone, and people who want to ban airsoft have some good intentions and arguments that may seem valid to them. Opposition to even simple toy guns can be very deep-rooted and trying to aggressively change their values or perspective may trigger anger or defensiveness. Be aware of when that could happen. You may be best to focus on being a spokesperson for airsoft to those that do not know about our sport. This not the time to be distracted by wider partisan political discussions.
2. Watch your language
Nothing makes people tune you out faster than profanity, threats, or insults. Keep your discussion focused on the bill. If you use derogatory terms, undecided people will write you off, and you will lose your chance to convince them. Even when faced with insults yourself, you have to...
3. Be professional
Keep up the proper safety procedures in your pictures, and don't react to criticism with hostility. You can show a lot of courage by keeping a professional attitude.
4. Show similarities to more common hobbies
Airsoft can be a hard concept to understand, and at first glance, it can look foreign and intimidating. It's easier for others to grasp if they have a reference point. Explain that airsoft is a lot like paintball - something more people can recognize. You can even start mentioning airsoft and paintball together - it saves time and creates instant recognition (plus, magfed paintball needs our help too!).
Airsoft events are fundamentally social events and are similar to sports like dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, or softball leagues. In some ways, airsoft is like modern live-action-role-playing. Regardless of what sports or activities you use as examples, help people understand that airsoft is all about coming together to socialize and have fun.
5. Tell people what they should know about airsoft
You can talk about how airsoft is safer than many accepted sports and that the community includes people from every political party, religious group, national background, and gender. You can talk about how thousands of people are about to lose their jobs, and tens of thousands are about to lose a community. You can also note that prohibiting airsoft will not stop criminals from getting and using bb guns in crimes. Airsoft is legal and played around the world. It's even permitted by law in countries with strict gun prohibitions such as Japan and the UK.
6. Take action
There is a petition to the House of Commons coming online shortly. Make filling out that petition one of your priorities (link to follow soon!). Sign any other formal House of Commons petition you agree with that asks for the revocation of Bill C-21. The Canadian gun lobby, the CCFR, will likely have one soon.
You should send a letter to your MP. A personal one is more effective than a form letter, but we have one you can use. Let them know your concerns and see what they'll be doing to support you. Another way to get involved is to join a federation or lobby group. Choose one that openly supports airsoft and tells you how they’ll fight for you and against Bill C-21.
Also be ready to put your effort into a political party campaign. Getting out to assist a party that's willing to help you and your cause will build a positive image for our community.
7. Inspire others to act
Ask your friends and family to support the petition. Let the country know that there are better ways to increase community safety than Bill C-21. Help them draft a letter to their MP about this issue. Let them know that without their help, your sport will be lost entirely.
8. Share your stories
Tell your network about how airsoft has positively impacted your life. Fitness, mental health, community, and good memories are all great topics to share in order to demonstrate the value of our sport to Canadians. As our site grows, it will fill with countless articles detailing other's experiences. Share these out to your network as well to show how positive airsoft has been for so many people. Want to share your story with us? Send us an email and we'll post it up!
9. Follow our Facebook page
It's a little rough, but let's be honest - it's day 3. We'll be using this page to highlight new developments, ways you can support national efforts, and stories that show everyone the impact of losing airsoft.
10. The media and the public are already here
They're already forming opinions about us and whether we should be supported. You have a responsibility to our community to be the best representative of our sport that you can be, to encourage others to do the same, and to share that image with everyone you can.