Originally Posted by Brian McIlmoyle
This sport won't "grow" by any other means than more players .. more players logically result in more incidents .. more incidents will result in more legislative action at the local level..
Federally .. the government has sorted out their approach to airsoft guns.. and In my opinion we have a pretty good situation now with respect to access and pricing.. the airsoft market and community is Booming which is resulting in the increase in the public eye.
Id like to think I'be had a hand in that.. I've been a vocal proponent for this activity since 2005.. I've put myself out there in public and stood up for our activity.. I use MY LEGAL NAME in this forum. and been on National television and in national newspapers advocating for this community, and I have the lumps to prove it..
How many times have you had people threaten to rape your wife.. and burn down your house for your activities advocating for this community?
it seems to me YOU are all talk
As soon as you require a license to do a thing you hand control to the state.. who can eliminate that access at it's whim.. Legislative control of this activity at a national / federal level is exactly what we don't want.
the UK model was a "take it or leave it" last ditched effort to keep some access to airsoft guns in that country.. it's not a model to follow.. it's a cautionary tale to avoid.
The way things are now is frankly better than it has EVER BEEN in Canada regarding the use and access to airsoft guns, and the proliferation of legal venues to use them. I believe that some of the risks I have taken and the work I have done has contributed to this state of affairs. ( maybe I'm fooling myself..I don't know)
The FACT the municipalities are singling out airsoft guns in legislation is proof positive that Airsoft is no longer in the closet but well into the public eye. We have what we wanted.. but there is a downside.. evidenced by local legislation such as noted above.
I'm sorry but there is NO WAY to make this activity palatable to the majority of Canadians.. they don't get it.. they never will. some of them think we are SICK for even wanting to look at a gun. All we can hope for is that a majority remain ambivalent, and continue to believe that individual rights and freedoms trump the unease that most people experience at the mention of shooting sports.
Fair enough, I wasn't aware of your efforts, and you can probably agree that it's very easy to see your posts on a regular basis and get the impression I got. I'm sure there are others that have the same impression. Not saying it's fair, but it's what I got. No offense or upsetting intended, so my sincere apologies for that.
For what it's worth, I think you make a good and reasoned argument. I'll try to explain how/why I think the UK system might still be a better idea than where we are headed, though.
I think you over-estimate the efficacy of strategies in the vein of "personal freedom". I believe that the rights that would be awarded to an officially-recognized sports and/or enthusiast community or even to a business community would be far more powerful than ones that have been granted to a loosely knit group of individuals, largely through a loop hole. It's no accident that in the United Kingdom the primary mindshare footprint of the airsoft regulations is UKARA -- a business consortium. This is a growing and substantial business that employs more and more people in the UK. In the United States, anti-airsoft laws have successfully been defeated by the airsoft business "lobby". What I'm suggesting here is that UKARA in the UK and similarly-knit groups of businesses in the USA have established an industrial foothold. Big footholds are harder to disrupt.
In Canada, we have a very loosely-knit group of businesses and people, but nothing like what we see down south or over the ocean.
In addition, I think too many people here are trying to avoid a VCR/UKARA type route because they're conflating the freedom to play airsoft and own airsoft guns with themes of firearms ownership rights, with a touch of libertarian ethics. That's a perfectly fine personal stance to have, but I think it's massive overkill for the issue at hand and terrible for effective community outreach. In the UK this vein of discussion probably never even got visited because they have very few gun rights to begin with, and it was much easier to get the public to buy in on the sport being an extension of legitimate -- and from the public's view totally benign -- hobbyist and re-enactment activities. From the perspective of evaluating effective marketing strategies for the airsoft lobby, I believe that "cold dead hands" flag waving type branding is always going to lose. In the public eye, that just reenforces the "bunch of gun-toting crazies" view, which is bad. Airsoft is not junior firearms, and I would argue it doesn't factor into the same set of logic with respect to how we interact with the governments and out rights, and so I think our interests can and must be marketed differently.
We just need to consider better strategies of social engineering than we have already.