Sure, Manitoba, as a whole, has a larger rural community who support the use of firearms, but the "Big City" is home to some of the biggest tree hugging hippie special interest groups I've ever seen. Maybe it's because I'm partially entrenched in this underground culture that I see it, but I hear plenty of hippy propaganda that decries the use of guns all the time.
Just because we don't have as much people doesn't mean the same percentage have objections to violence.
I showed that article to a few of the big time "MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR" hippie folk that I hang around with, and I was shocked to hear positive sentiments toward the hobby. They said, stuff like "If it keeps them from buying the real thing, that's cool with me" which is true for many airsofters.
Just trying to put that out there. Not all perceptions can be assumed negative because of estimated bias.