Is Bill C-21 set to destroy Canadian Airsoft Industry?

A new Canadian gun control bill from the federal government could spell danger to the Airsoft gun industry.

Bill C-21, which has not yet passed, would ban “mid-velocity replica firearms.”

The bill states:

“Update the Criminal Code to ensure that any device, including an unregulated airgun that looks exactly like a conventional regulated firearm (i.e., shoots over 500 feet per second), is prohibited for the purposes of import, export, sale and transfer.

Current owners may keep their ‘replicas’ but cannot transfer them to anyone else.

No further ‘replica’ firearms could be imported into, or sold/transferred in Canada.

This amendment does not affect other types of airguns that do not exactly replicate a conventional regulated firearm.”

Airsoft groups across the country have started e-petitions asking the government to remove airsoft guns from Bill C-21.

More than 50,000 people have signed through a petition and one hosted on the House of Commons website.

Ziming Wan, who manages BlackBlitz Airsoft store, told CBC News: "If the bill passes in its current state, this business will shut down. I will lose my job. The owner will lose everything. Our five employees will all lose their jobs."

"There was no consultation with the industry before [the government] did this," said Wan. "Airsoft toys are not a threat to public safety. They are made so you can play with your friends and not hurt your friends. All airsoft stores in Canada are small businesses and they can't take blows like this."

Aaron Strauss, the owner of Cache Tactical Supply in Regina commented: 

“Airsoft is a game, effectively, of tag. It uses replica firearms. Instead of tagging with your hand, you’re tagging somebody with a biodegradable corn starch pellet … It is specifically designed not to cause injury or harm,” he said.

“If it looks like a gun that shoots a real bullet, it will now be banned,” he said. “It has nothing to do (with) function, it’s completely on appearance.

“What they’re doing is they’re effectively killing an entire sport. There are hundreds of companies across the country that cater to the Airsoft sport. There are leagues, there are thousands of players and millions of dollars in economic activity that they’re just writing off in the stroke of a pen.”

It is thought that the Bill is designed to help cut crimes in Canada, as the powers that be are seeing a rise in replica guns being used in robberies. 

In another blow to the Canadian gun industry, the mayor of Vancouver says he will introduce a motion to draft a bylaw banning handguns once the federal government passes the proposed Bill C-21.

The newly tabled legislation would allow municipalities to ban handguns through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation. It also proposes a buyback of a wide array of recently banned firearms the government considers assault-style weapons.

“At the earliest opportunity, I will be bringing forward a motion directing staff to prepare a handgun ban bylaw and bring it forward for a vote once this federal legislation is passed,” Mayor Kennedy Stewart said.