OP ED: Regulation vs Reality
The state of California has followed the example that several other states and other countries have set and has passed new legislation regarding the sale and distribution of airsoft guns. The law defines an airsoft gun as being a “BB device...that expels a projectile, such as BB or pellet, that is 6mm or 8mm caliber”. There has been much debate in the airsoft community regarding whether or not airsoft guns should be so regulated and what this means for the sport.
The new legislation states that any airsoft pistol must possess a blaze orange ring on the barrel, per federal law; fluorescent coloration over the entire piece of the trigger guard; and a 2cm wide band of fluorescent coloration over the circumference of the pistol grip. Airsoft rifles, shotguns, and long guns must possess a blaze orange ring on the barrel, per federal law; fluorescent coloration over the entire piece of the trigger guard; and a 2cm wide band of fluorescent coloration over two of the following: protruding pistol grip, buttstock, and airsoft magazine or clip.
Anyone who has been to an airsoft event or military simulation can tell you that the realism of the experience can make or break a game. On the field one can experience the thrill of facing your opponents, the smell of smoke grenades across the course, and the bond between teammates as they work together to accomplish a goal. Whether an individual's reasons for playing are for stress release, safety training purposes, or to socialize among the like minded watching a fluorescent wave of airsoft guns bouncing across the field can severely take away from the experience. It is not until one is crouching behind a barrel or a bush trying to sneak up on or hide from an opponent that one can realize the importance having a weapon that does not attract attention.
In an article posted by Chico Enterprise they state “There's absolutely no good reason to make toy guns look like the real thing”. To those who avidly participate in airsoft related events this statement portrays the opinion of those who have no experience in airsoft and are lacking in information regarding the events that have lead to the demand that airsoft guns be regulated.
In most cases of police shootings involving airsoft guns, such as John Crawford III shopping in Wal-mart or Andy Lopez walking in broad daylight in Santa Rosa, weapons are fired before authorities had a chance to assess whether the weapon is really a weapon at all. It is a lack of awareness and information that causes these accidents. This brings to rise the question of what is really required to solve the issue of incidental shootings. It is the irresponsibility of both the airsoft gun owners and law enforcement officers that causes these incidents and it is imperative when dealing with any type of firearm that one should be considerate of their surroundings and use caution in the handling of the weapon.
Misplaced blame and an outcry for someone to take responsibility is not going to solve any issues in regards to airsoft gun safety. One must take responsibility for themselves by gathering information and keeping aware of their surroundings and most importantly, developing good safety habits. Not only is developing safety habits important for the community but also passing knowledge along to children and young adults about gun safety.
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