Originally Posted by Crunchmeister
Well, there's a big difference between "sporting arms" in the sense of hunting and target shooting (either competitive or recreational) than playing airsoft. Airsoft is not about shooting. It's about wargaming and having all-out military simulations with airsoft guns. While marksmanship is certainly a crucial aspect of it, it's a very different sport than what you refer to. Being a good shot is only a very small part of this game.
Hopefully you can understand why as a community, we don't want to attract public or police scrutiny for what we do. Because of the nature of this sport, it quickly attracts very negative publicity from outcries that we're militants, glorifying gun violence, desinsitizing kids to gun violence, etc. It happened back in the day with paintball when it used to be very much like airsoft. Paintball had to change drastically in order to be allowed to continue. And it's turned into a joke now and geared at kids.
As it stands, the majority of the public out there really have no opinion on airsoft one way or another. Some know it exists and don't care, some don't know at all. However, it takes very little noise from the nay-sayers to demonize us and what we do and turn public opinion against us. As it stands, we have little attention on us and that's a good thing. While what we do is not illegal, the tools we use to do it with are illegal by some laws, and aren't by others. We are basically allowed to exist because of loopholes and vague areas in the law. It's a very fine balance, and it doesn't take much to upset that.
To attract attention to ourselves from the general public, particularly from dwellers in major urban centres where people live in constant fear of perceived gun violence (often overhyped by the media and special interest groups) is asking for trouble. They prefer eradication of what they perceive to be the problem (all guns, airsoft included) rather than the control of it. If this happens, we (the responsible airsoft gun owners who play the game) end up getting perceived as militant gun nuts from all the soccer moms and social do-gooders and end up paying for the problems of society that we have no part in by being forced to give up our guns and our sport.
And unfortunately, these urban dwellers are the majority of Canadians, or close to it. Even if just a a few small groups within this population of urbanites see us as a problem, you can bet they will lobby their local politicians law enforcement on all levels to put a stop to what we do. We just barely have a toehold in legality as it is. To draw too much attention to us and our sport is not a good thing. It's much too easy for legislators to just eliminate these loopholes we exist in than it is to rewrite existing laws to allow us - a very small minority of Canadians to continue with what we do. It's true that the 'squeaky wheel gets the grease'. And these small groups of individuals squeak just loud enough to the right politicians, then we're done
And of course, there's the police issue which is not a good thing to bring up. Airsoft is in a grey enough area that police don't hunt down and prosecute airsoft gun owners unless they use their airsoft guns for criminal purposes. They know we exist, and allow us to do so because we aren't a priority or a problem. They don't raid known airsoft events to seize guns, etc. Technically, they could, since airsoft guns are technically classified as replicas (by some laws, but not others), and replicas have been illegal to accquire (but not own) since Dec 1, 1998.
Unless one could prove that they've owned their guns prior to that date, then the police would have every right to seize them, and possibly lay charges. Whether or not the charges would stick and stand up in court or be thrown out and the guns returned is a gamble. But technically, the police COULD do that if there was enough public pressure put on them to do it.
When you know you COULD get bitten by an animal, it's usually best to avoid contact with that animal as much as possible. The same can be said about officially involving police and public scrutiny in any matters regarding airsoft.