Airsoft, and the law.
According to the Canadian Criminal code replica firearms are prohibited devices.
"replica firearm"means any device that is designed or intended to exactly resemble, or to resemble with near precision, a firearm, and that itself is not a firearm,
but does not include any such device that is designed or intended to exactly resemble, or to resemble with near precision, an antique firearm;
"prohibited device" means
(a) any component or part of a weapon, or any accessory for use with a weapon, that is prescribed to be a prohibited device,
(b) a handgun barrel that is equal to or less than 105 mm in length, but does not include any such handgun barrel that is prescribed, where the handgun barrel is for use in international sporting competitions governed by the rules of the International Shooting Union,
(c) a device or contrivance designed or intended to muffle or stop the sound or report of a firearm,
(d) a cartridge magazine that is prescribed to be a prohibited device, or
(e) a replica firearm;
prescribed" means prescribed by the regulations;
Possession of prohibited devices are prohibited, but replica firearms occupy a "grey area" under the law. Although prohibited, replica firearms are specifically excluded from the prohibition for possession. In addition no license is required for possession
(2) Subject to subsection (4) and section 98, every person commits an offence who possesses a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, other than a replica firearm, or any prohibited ammunition, unless the person is the holder of a licence under which the person may possess it.
So it is legal to posses them under the criminal code of Canada. Furthermore Airsoft weapons are not subject to the regulations governing firearms because they do not meet the definition of a firearm.
(3) For the purposes of sections 91 to 95, 99 to 101, 103 to 107 and 117.03 of this Act and the provisions of the Firearms Act, the following weapons are deemed not to be firearms:
(d) any other barrelled weapon, where it is proved that the weapon is not designed or adapted to discharge
(i) a shot, bullet or other projectile at a muzzle velocity exceeding 152.4 m per second or at a muzzle energy exceeding 5.7 Joules, or
(ii) a shot, bullet or other projectile that is designed or adapted to attain a velocity exceeding 152.4 m per second or an energy exceeding 5.7 Joules.
It is illegal to import, sell, transfer prohibited devices to another person if you do not posses the required licenses or permits to do so.
100. (1) Every person commits an offence who possesses a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, any ammunition or any prohibited ammunition for the purpose of
(a) transferring it, whether or not for consideration, or
(b) offering to transfer it,
knowing that the person is not authorized to transfer it under the Firearms Act or any other Act of Parliament or any regulations made under any Act of Parliament.
So individuals that posses Airsoft weapons can not legally transfer the weapon to another person. Selling your used guns to someone else is an offence under the criminal code of Canada subject upon conviction of a sentence of up to 5 years.
Prohibited devices (airsoft weapons) can be transferred to a business licensed to sell prohibited devices which can then re-sell the items legally.
Now.. where it is illegal to posses prohibited devices is in the commitment of offences.
86. (1) Every person commits an offence who, without lawful excuse, uses, carries, handles, ships, transports or stores a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition in a careless manner or without reasonable precautions for the safety of other persons.
88. (1) Every person commits an offence who carries or possesses a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence.
89. (1) Every person commits an offence who, without lawful excuse, carries a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition while the person is attending or is on the way to attend a public meeting
90. (1) Every person commits an offence who carries a weapon, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition concealed, unless the person is authorized under the Firearms Act to carry it concealed.
Airsoft weapons meet the definition of replica firearms. Replica firearms are "prohibited devices" under the law. The criminal code of Canada excludes replica firearms from the prohibition for possession. The criminal code of Canada excludes replica firearms from the prohibition for transporting prohibited devices. The criminal code of Canada includes "imitation firearms" in the definitions of offences with respect to their use in the commission of an offense. The Criminal Code of Canada includes "imitation firearms" under the definition of items illegal to carry to a public meeting, or to carry concealed in public. It is illegal for owners of prohibited devices ( replica firearms ) to trade, sell or give them to any other person. Only businesses that are licensed to carry on trade in prohibited devices may receive, trade or sell them. Private trade in prohibited devices is a criminal offence.
Under the law airsoft weapons could be treated exactly the same as any other prohibited weapon, except you can own them and transport them without needing a license. If however you are found carrying them in public or use them in the commission of a crime there is no distinction between an airsoft pistol and any other "real steel" pistol. Consequently they should be treated as one would treat any other firearm, Transport them under lock, store them under lock, and only use them at approved ranges and fields.
No one is licensed to import replica firearms for sale to individuals
. To do so places you at risk of criminal charges, and confiscation of your replica weapons if prosecuted.
The trade in Airsoft guns between licensed importers and individuals exists only because airsoft guns as a class of items have not be proscribed as catagoricaly being replicas. So they are traded under the assumption that they are "immitation" firearms and remain so until tested in a court of law on a case by case basis.
For more information visit the website of The Canadian Firearms Center at www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca
, The Firearms Act at laws.justice.gc.ca/en/F-11.6/, and the Criminal Code of Canada laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-46/42061.html.