here's a copy of the message i sent to my federal MP.
Miss Savoie -
I can imagine that you're quite busy, so I will do what I can to make this email brief.
My name is Patrick Osborne. I'm an infantry officer in the Canadian Forces, and I hope to use my professional background as a soldier to try to impress upon you my opinion on an issue.
In a nutshell, there is a little-known adventure sport called "airsoft" in Canada. It got its start in Japan, where civillian gun ownership is illegal. Enthusiasts sought out to create realistic facsimiles of real-world firearms that shot 6mm diameter plastic pellets, or "bb's" through compressed gas at relatively low speed. Airsoft is very similar to the sport of Paintball, but it is different in that the toy guns used look and operate very similarily to the real thing while paintball guns do not.
Airsoft guns and the sport in general are in a grey area at the moment. They are technically a replica firearm, but do not qualify as such because the velocity of the pellets is less than that of a deadly weapon (which is listed at 450 feet per second. airsoft guns usually operate at around 200-350 fps.). Because airsoft guns lie in this grey area, nothing is really known about them and they are treated with suspicion and heavy-handedness by law enforcement. It is illegal for individuals to import airsoft guns (although accessories are allowed), however certain businesses can apply for a special license to do so.
There is a fairly small, but very enthusiastic and dedicated airsoft sporting element in this country and worldwide. At the moment, the sport is in danger of being squashed by inaction and by bad public image. Some individuals choose to perform acts of public disorder with airsoft guns (toting them or threatening with them as if they were real), and these people have done much to scar the otherwise professional and law-abiding airsofters across Canada. What the organized teams would like to see is some form of official Federal recognition and / or regulation. We are not adverse to seeing rules and regulations in place, so long as our category of sport is not allowed to die out or languish in the "grey area" of the criminal code and firearm acts. An example of regulation should be limiting the sale of airsoft guns to those who are above 18 years of age, or even limiting the sale of airsoft guns to those who have a valid firearms license. Nearly every legitimate team worldwide also requires their members to wear the proper safety equipment (face masks and impact-rated eyewear are most common. Airsoft pellets can easily poke eyes out, so glasses or goggles are an absolute must. airsoft rarely pierces the skin, except the most powerful guns at very close range. usually a small stinging welt is the result), which promotes good safety habits and good sportsmanship. The sport has every opportunity to be a perfectly safe and enjoyable hobby.
What I am asking you, Miss Savoie, as my Member of Parliament, is to start discussion in the House, or indeed, anywhere at all where you will be heard. I would like you to represent the mature and dedicated players of Airsoft in Canada, and bring public notice of this issue to the forefront. My email barely scratches the surface of the issue, so I would be delighted to continue the conversation with you at any time.
I would appreciate it greatly if you could take the time to contact me personally, rather than a boilerplate letter or a response written by an assistant. This issue is very important to me, because not only do I enjoy playing Airsoft, I also believe it can benefit the military during training exercises. I think every sport has a legitimate shot at being allowed to exist. All that I ask is that you seriously take this issue to heart.
I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's)