Are you an airsoft enthusiast in Canada wondering about the legality of airsoft guns? With the abundance of information online, it can be challenging to distinguish fact from fiction. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to uncover the truth about airsoft gun laws in Canada.
This guide will explore Canada’s current laws and regulations surrounding airsoft guns. We’ll also discuss the differences between airsoft guns and real firearms and how these distinctions affect their legality. Additionally, we’ll cover airsoft gun laws in different provinces.
Whether you’re a refined airsoft player or a curious beginner, understanding the laws and regulations regarding airsoft guns in Canada is crucial. So, let’s dive in and separate fact from fiction regarding the legality of airsoft guns in Canada.
Airsoft Guns and Canadian Law
Airsoft guns, often replicas of real firearms, have a moderately complex legal status in Canada. This section will cover relevant regulations under the Criminal Code, Bill C-21, the Firearms Act, and Prohibited, Restricted, and Non-Restricted Firearms classifications.
The Criminal Code of Canada outlines the guidelines and restrictions for possessing and using a replica firearm. Since airsoft guns closely resemble real firearms, they can fall under this category if they meet specific criteria.
You can legally own an airsoft gun without a license if it shoots with insufficient force to seriously injure someone. However, using it in a crime could lead to severe charges.
Bill C-21, a recent legislation enacted by the Canadian government, aims to regulate replica firearms and airsoft guns further. The bill includes stricter control on importing and selling replica firearms, including airsoft guns.
If passed, it will also require all airsoft guns to be registered and may limit their sale to licensed players, who must demonstrate a valid reason for owning an airsoft gun.
Airsoft guns that shoot projectiles with enough force to cause severe injury or exceed a specific velocity threshold are subject to the Firearms Act. This means that certain airsoft guns may be treated as actual firearms in the eyes of the law.
If your airsoft gun falls under this category, you must possess a valid Possession and Acquisition License (PAL).
Prohibited firearms are the most heavily controlled category in Canada. These include guns with barrels shorter than 105mm or an overall length below 660mm and fully automatic guns.
While few airsoft guns fall under this category, it’s essential to note that owning one without a license is illegal.
Non-Restricted Firearms are Canada’s least regulated category, typically including most long guns used for hunting or sport shooting. If your airsoft gun is considered a non-restricted firearm, you will need a valid PAL to purchase and possess it.
Restricted Firearms often include handguns and certain semi-automatic rifles. If your airsoft gun is classified as a restricted firearm, you must purchase and possess a valid Restricted PAL (RPAL). Additionally, you may face further storage, transportation, and usage restrictions.
Understanding the regulations surrounding airsoft guns in Canada is crucial for ensuring you abide by the law and stay out of trouble. Be sure to keep yourself informed on the latest updates in Canadian airsoft legislation.
Regulations and Requirements
Airsoft guns in Canada are subject to specific regulations and requirements related to their muzzle energy, velocity, licensing, registration, and other factors. To ensure your airsoft activities comply with the law, apprise yourself of the following guidelines.
Muzzle Energy and Velocity
The muzzle energy of airsoft guns must not exceed 5.7 joules, with a maximum muzzle velocity of 500 feet per second (FPS). When using 0.20g BBs, the velocity should remain below 366 FPS for unrestricted use.
Airsoft guns with a muzzle velocity between 366 FPS and 500 FPS are classified as firearms, requiring adherence to additional regulations. Exceeding the 500 FPS muzzle velocity threshold may classify an airsoft weapon as a prohibited device, rendering it illegal.
Licensing and Registration
You must obtain a valid firearms license if your airsoft gun falls within the 366-500 FPS range. The application process involves completing the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and submitting the required documentation to the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC).
Restricted firearms, such as airsoft handgun barrels equal to or less than 105 mm in length, mandate registration with the CFC. However, airguns that fall under the unrestricted category do not require registration.
Manufacturers and Importing
Canadian airsoft manufacturers must comply with specific quality and safety guidelines, ensuring all airsoft products align with the law. If you purchase an airsoft gun from a reputable Canadian retailer, it is likely compliant with national standards.
When importing an airsoft gun, exercise caution to avoid potential legal issues. Imported airguns must adhere to the muzzle mentioned above energy and velocity guidelines and any additional regulations. It is prudent to consult an expert or authoritative government source before proceeding.
Safety and Public Concerns
As an airsoft enthusiast, you know that safety and public concerns are paramount when it comes to the legality of airsoft guns in Canada.
Orange Tips on Airsoft Guns
Although not required by law, you should always use airsoft guns with bright orange tips. This safety measure distinguishes them from real firearms and reduces the risk of confusing law enforcement officers or the public.
Transportation and Storage
When transporting your airsoft guns, always keep them in a locked container or case, and separate them from any ammunition. This helps to prevent accidents and avoids causing unnecessary alarm to the public.
Store your airsoft guns in a secure location, such as a locked cabinet, and away from children. You should also consider investing in trigger locks for additional safety.
Firearms Safety Measures
You’re responsible for handling your airsoft guns safely and responsibly. Always follow these basic firearms safety measures:
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
- Never point your airsoft gun at something you don’t intend to shoot
- Be aware of what’s in front and beyond your target
- Use appropriate eye and body protection during play
Respect private property and only play airsoft in designated areas with proper consent. By adhering to these guidelines, you help maintain the positive image of airsoft and ensure its continued legality in Canada.
Airsoft Industry and Hobby
Airsoft guns have gained popularity over the years in Canada, emerging as a thriving industry and recreational hobby. Like paintball, airsoft has become a favorite pastime for many Canadians, offering an exciting alternative to traditional sports.
Paintball and Airsoft Comparison
While paintball guns shoot paint-filled pellets, airsoft guns use small plastic pellets known as BBs. They operate differently, but both sports prioritize safety, with each requiring players to wear protective gear, such as masks and eye protection.
As a result, these activities have grown into reputable hobbies enjoyed by many around the country, including Toronto.
Petitions and Opposition
Many Canadians support the airsoft industry despite public safety concerns and have signed e-petitions. Multiple petitions are circulating, with most focused on protecting the hobby and the right for players to enjoy the sport.
Such opposition speaks to the strong community backing airsoft in Canada.
Impact on Small Businesses
Small businesses centered around the airsoft and paintball industries have capitalized on this thriving market. Alongside those offering equipment rentals and supplies, these enterprises host events, operate shooting ranges, or maintain fields for patrons to engage in the sport.
Protecting the legality of the airsoft industry is thus crucial for ensuring the continued success of these small businesses.
Airsoft Guns in Canadian Provinces
In Ontario, airsoft guns or airguns do not fall under the firearms category. Although you can purchase and own them, you must follow the legal guidelines. For example, airsoft guns must have an orange tip and a clear body to be considered legal.
There is no minimum age limit to buy Airsoft guns in Ontario; you can purchase one if you follow the rules.
In Alberta, airsoft guns are considered non-powder firearms and do not require a license. However, there are restrictions on where you can use them, such as avoiding public areas and respecting private property.
The Alberta Firearms Act does not regulate gas-powered and CO2 Airsoft guns, but it is still essential to practice safety regardless of the type of airsoft gun.
British Columbia has similar regulations to Alberta. While there is no minimum age requirement, you should exercise caution when allowing minors to handle airsoft guns.
Remember to use your airsoft guns in controlled and safe environments, such as at official airsoft fields or private properties, with permission from the owner.
Airsoft weapons are subject to particular laws under the Criminal Code of Canada in Montreal since they are regarded as replica firearms.
Replica weapons in Montreal must have an orange tip or be completely translucent or transparent. Additionally, an individual must be at least 18 years old to buy or own a replica firearm in Montreal.
Like other provinces, avoid using airsoft guns in populated areas and only use them in designated airsoft fields or with the property owner’s consent.
Quebec has similar regulations as the other provinces. Although no license is needed to purchase an airsoft gun, ensure you are aware of the legal requirements and where they can be used.
Weapon storage and transportation are also essential considerations. Ensure you store airsoft guns safely and securely, preferably in a case or bag when transporting them.
Airsoft guns provide an excellent way to enjoy recreational shooting sports and simulated combat scenarios. However, it’s critical to understand and comply with Canada’s airsoft gun laws, as ignorance can land you in legal trouble.
Before picking up an airsoft gun, familiarize yourself with the specific regulations in your area. Remember to treat airsoft guns with the same respect and safety measures as real firearms, including proper transport, storage, and usage.
Additionally, consider joining a local airsoft club or participating in organized events. This offers a safe and controlled environment for airsoft enthusiasts like you and helps you connect with like-minded individuals, sharing tricks and techniques, and ensuring an enjoyable experience for all.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are airsoft guns illegal in Canada?
No, airsoft guns are not illegal in Canada. However, specific regulations apply, such as an FPS limit of 366 to 500 for importation and restrictions on replica firearms that resemble real guns too closely.
Q. Do I need a license to own an airsoft gun in Canada?
You don’t need a license to own an airsoft gun as long as it complies with Canadian guidelines (FPS between 366 and 500). However, you will require a license if it’s classified as a replica firearm, a prohibited device, or a restricted firearm.
Q. Can I use an airsoft gun in public spaces?
It’s strongly advised against using airsoft guns in public spaces, as they may cause alarm and be mistaken for real firearms. Always use designated airsoft fields or private property with permission from the owner.
Q. What safety gear should I use while playing airsoft?
When participating in airsoft games, safety should always be a top priority. Essential safety gear includes eye protection, face protection, gloves, and sturdy footwear. These items protect your eyes, face, hands, and feet from potential injury.
However, it’s important to note that additional protective gear, such as chest protection and kneepads, can further enhance your safety during gameplay. Thus, investing in high-quality protective gear is recommended to protect you while enjoying airsoft games.