Ok I've read all the posts in this thread, many good many bad. Now perhaps I can help shed some light on the subject if not the reason for the 18+ rule. As a child and young adult your body is developing, growing and changing this also pertains to the brain and it's reasoning, judgement and other skills. There have been extensive studies done on the subject. As a child and especially as a teenager with the added stress of puberty and a sudden influx of hormones your body is not used to dealing with, the developing brain is not always capable of properly assessing a particular situation, scenario, outcome etc.
As a result of this judgement can be impaired (for lack of a better term) This is one of the prime reasons behind the young offenders act, kids do stupid things because your brain doesn't necessarily know how to properly assess and understand the possible consequences of your actions. The law takes this into account and does not necessarily want to "brand" you a criminal for the rest of your life for a youthful indiscretion, however no one wants to see personal or public safety put at risk because of a lack of foresight on a person or groups behalf so restrictions can be placed upon that person or persons. Hence no drivers licence until 16 even then there can still be restrictions, no drinking until the chosen age of your Province and no purchasing, owning, or unsupervised use of airguns or replicas.
A very quick and obvious possible scenario, Police get a gun call (what prompted the call really doesn't matter the police response will be the same) they tell the person to drop the gun, the person is a 16 year old, he took his new airsoft ak90k asswupper signature series he is so excited about to show a friend, he is surprised at the fuss the police seem to be making and thinks there must be some misunderstanding and doesn't want to drop his brand new asswupper on the pavement and possibly break it. He turns to explain to the police and inadvertently points the gun without thinking, the officer has no choice but to interpret this as threat and failure to comply, to protect himself and fellow officers he shoots the boy.
This kid didn't intentionally do anything wrong, but he did a lot of wrong things and ended up in a situation that killed him and could potentially kill airsoft. Parents groups outraged over the senseless death and similar one in another community not to mention the U.S. lobby their members of parliament to ban these useless guns that have no redeeming quality and are getting their perfect children killed.
We've read it here a thousand times, I know I'm under age BUT I just want to play in my yard with some friends, my neighbours know me and there cool they'd never call the cops.
I know I'm under age BUT I live in the country and the cops don't care.
WTF me and some friends were just going to skirmish in the woods out of town and we kept our guns hidden until we just about got there and the cops showed up and confiscated our guns WTF.
I realize the shooting scenario could just as easily happen to a careless or ignorant adult, the difference is if a adult is shot there is not going to be the same public outcry as when it happens to a child, why ? because as a society we are expected to look out for and protect the children as they can not be held responsible for their actions unlike adults. And until you are 18 under the law you are considered a child in this country like it or not, because you don't necessarily have the ability to make the right choices and so someone else is responsible for your ass. If you're over 18 and make a bad choice, tough luck deal with it.
And perhaps that is why legally you have to be 18+ to purchase or own a airgun or a replica gun, and if you're under 18 you need adult supervision any time you wish to use one.
The law and rules have to cover the majority not the minority and the majority of under 18 do not necessarily have the skills to make certain decisions, that doesn't mean a 15 yr old can't show proper judgement it's just not necessarily the norm.
I hope this is coherent as I've been up for 23 hrs and I may not be conveying my thoughts as clearly as desired.