Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Bought airsofts in another country - how to get them home?
First off I should tell you I am a n00b when it comes to airsofts. I researched about them a bit, and I know about certain types of Airsofts but besides that I honestly don't know much.
I'm from Canada, and I'm a 17 year old girl. I've been interested in airsofts for a while now, and I've been in Japan for 3 months on an exchange. It's here that I was finally able to buy two M29 air revolvers and another magnum. I kept the receipts for all of them. They all have serial numbers, and each costed me about $35.00 CDN.
After I bought them, I began wondering how I could get them back into Canada. I heard stories (from my friends) about how they bought airsofts overseas and they brought them back no problem. They just got home and unpacked. So, I figured it would be no sweat.
However, one of my friends suddenly told me that he had a friend who was on a school trip in the UK, bought a few airsofts, and then came back on the plane only to discover they had all been confiscated by customs.
This worried me. So I got on my comp and google'd up the laws and regulations for airsofts in Canada. It was actually this site I came across, and according to some information here, it stated that airsofts are legal in Canada, however there are certain types (unclear models that don't have serial numbers, full colored guns that could easily pass as the real thing, etc) that are not legal. So I was thinking to myself, "well, wtf, that's not too clear. Especially considering I'm dealing with airport security and customs. The Air Canada website said that "replica guns" are 100% allowed in checked baggage, however, this is just the airlines, and who knows, they might only be talking about in-country travel.
So, to clear up the smoke, I google'd up Customs & Immigration of Canada and found their toll free number. I called them immediately and asked them, "are airsofts allowed to come into Canada"? The woman took a minute to consult the firearms specialist, and she then told me, "if it looks like a real gun, it will be confiscated". That's all she said.
Alright, that was a pretty straightforward answer. So now, I was really worried. I was like "Jesus what am I going to do? these guns DO look real. They're not metal, but to the untrained eye they could definitely pass as real guns".
It was then that one of my friends told me to just disassemble the guns and scatter the parts in my luggage. At the time, this seemed like the best idea ever. I figured, they're all plastic, so the pieces are just random plastic parts, springs and screws - there's no way they can tell what it is. So, I spent a few days carefully taking the guns apart.
However, I quickly realized this was a bad idea. Because it may be "stealthy", but if you are caught doing this, you can easily be charged for smuggling illegal items into Canada. I don't want to take any chances, so I asked my dad what I should do. He told me just to put all of the pieces of the guns back into their boxes. He said to put them in my luggage and declare them as "toys" on my customs form. He said if they catch me with them, tell them I had no idea they weren't allowed, I thought they were just toys, and that all of my friends have them back in Japan.
So now I face a dilemma. Should I put these airsofts in my luggage, declare them on my customs form as "toys" or just be plain honest and say "airsofts", disassembled in their own boxes, and risk them being confiscated and me possibly getting fined or arrested, or mail them SAL/ground back to my mother as "gifts" (it was my mother's idea, lol).
I have to say, I am prepared to leave them here if it means I don't get into any trouble. But I really, REALLY don't want to. They cost a lot of money.
Keep in mind, I've heard SO many stories of people bringing airsofts in their luggage, declaring them on their customs form and getting to keep them, and also mailing them back to themselves no problem (and most of these people are my close friends). But, I've also heard even more horror stories, including people getting charged and going to court.
But also keep in mind, I've never heard of anybody being charged (criminal record, court hearing, etc) for bringing airsofts back in their luggage. The only time I've heard of people being charged is store owners and airsoft dealers who illegally import illegal airsofts from countries like China. Usually, according to many sources, they just confiscate them and sometimes you'll get a notice/warning letting you know they've been confiscated. But then again, I AM a noob, lol.
So please, what is your HONEST opinion? What do you HONESTLY think I should do? (I'm prepared for the worst :P )
Last edited by digital-ninja; September 24th, 2009 at 12:02..
Reason: forgot to include something