Join the discussion on live internet radio, 5pm central time (3pm Pacific time) Saturday, May 7th. Join your hosts, Airsoft Outlaws 1/21 Battalion Executive Officer Aaron Howard (Copper), former 82nd Airborne Paratrooper Mike Arnold (Hathcock), and former Army Special Forces sniper Shane Vanaman (Bushman).
This issue affects us all. Let's talk about it on the Voice of Airsoft, AIRSOFT CORPS.
Additionally, our local team, the Airsoft Outlaws submitted a written response as well as an invitation to address the issue during the next live broadcast of Airsoft Corps, the Voice of Airsoft. We'll see....I am thinking he probably won't call to talk with a bunch of airsofters about wanting to color their airsoft guns like Skittles. I guess that could lead to some funny war cries - "TASTE THE RAINBOW, SUCKA'!!!!....Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"
The text of our response follows:
Senator de Leon:
The Members of the Airsoft Outlaws, an Arkansas based Airsoft MilSim Group, are writing to voice our opposition to SB 798. Although this bill does not directly involve our state, it does affect the entire airsoft community. Our team’s collective experience encompasses Special Forces military as well as law enforcement. It is this experience we draw on to contend this bill will in fact put children, civilians, and police officers at greater risk. We further assert it will hinder police officers in distinguishing between real and replica firearms, and exacerbate the difficulties they already face.
Airsoft devices have the external features of a firearm, but are entirely unsuited for conversion into a real firearm. Airsoft devices are not toys, and those sold in the U.S. already require a permanently affixed orange muzzle tip. For their own safety, police officers work under the assumption that, until proven otherwise, any brandished orange tipped gun may be a real firearm. Logically, it follows that police officers will begin to assume any gun-shaped object may be a real firearm, regardless of it being partially or completely covered in a bright color. Criminals could benefit by disguising real firearms as toys, thereby potentially causing a hesitation of the officer to react to the disguised threat, placing the officer in danger.
Airsoft devices are not intended for use by unsupervised minors. To color an airsoft device similar to a toy gun would also be detrimental to the personal safety of children. The bright coloration could cause a child to assume an airsoft device is harmless, when they actually do pose a serious threat to unprotected eyes.
Solutions to issues dealing with mishandling of airsoft devices do need to be discussed, and it is our firm stance SB 798 is not a solution. A true solution would not burden those that seek to use their airsoft device responsibly. Despite responsible use, and requirements of the current laws, there is still a minority of people, primarily minors, who have access to an airsoft device and choose to use it irresponsibly, even dangerously. It stands to reason, a true solution would address these problem individuals. The United Kingdom has enacted legislation such as the Crime and Disorder Act, the Child Protection Order, and the Firearms Acts. Although airsoft devices fall below the present licensing regime, the Firearms Acts contain a package of statutory controls intended to prevent their misuse. If these laws are violated, the violation will carry a stiff penalty* including fines and/or imprisonment.
CA 798 will only punish the responsible airsoft player, place minors at undue risk, and hinder the efforts of law enforcement. Instead, lay the blame at the source and enact legislation that will provide consequences for those that act outside the scope of reasonable and responsible airsoft device ownership.
* http://www.parliament.the-stationery-of ... 5/9508.htm
TABLE 2: AIR WEAPON OFFENCES AND PRESENT PENALTIES