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by Mike Ratko
NOTE: This issue has been resolved. This article is online for historical reference. Please see Canadian Legal Threat Resolved for more current information.
There has been much discussion and concern over pending legislation that would classify paintball markers as firearms. This is not an April fool's joke gone bad. Considerable time has been spent verifying the information, researching the history, status and process. The following is a brief explanation and a suggestions for moving forward.
There lies before Parliament, Bill C-15, a omnibus bill submitted by the Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan, to amend several parts of the Criminal Code of Canada. One section of the bill involves the definition of a firearm. Canada is tightening up its gun laws. A firearm was recently defined as a [device capable of discharging] "a shot, bullet or other projectile at a muzzle velocity exceeding 152.4 m per second, or (ii) a shot, bullet or other projectile that is designed or adapted to attain a velocity exceeding 152.4 m per second.
Airguns have always fought to be excluded
from firearm designation. An airgun that discharges pellets a 480fps
will discharge a new light-weight pellet at velocities over 600fps.
This caught the attention of the RCMP and was referred to the National
Firearm Technical Committee (NFTC) of the Canadian Firearm Centre (CFC).
The CFC is a division of the Ministry of Justice. The original
The NFTC recognizes the seriousness of
the omission and will be meeting on April 26 to review this and other omissions.
(This is the April 26 date seen in some correspondence. The April
9th date is a phantom date unless someone else can lend credence to it.
Parliament will take a two week recess beginning on April 9 and will not
reconvene until April 23. Until then, nothing can get done.)
The meeting dates for the Committee can be found on the following website:
The status of the bill (C-15) can be followed at this website:
Please note that the CFC is issuing a statement that paintballs would not fall under the proposed legislation there is no language to support this. The goal should be a well written, clear definition and piece of legislation. Do you want to be the person charged with the illegal possession of a firearm? Even though you may not be guilty by the intent of the law, you are by the letter of the law and will have to defend yourself at considerable cost.
It is EXTREMELY important to clarify that the paintball players and industry should not take this as an attack on paintball. It appears to be an oversight on the lawyers that drafted the legislation. Rather than take a defensive position about paintball, we should take on the role as EDUCATORS. Advise your Member of Parliament (MP) that an tremendous error has occurred and if corrected could save a lot of (sales) tax revenue and jobs (and votes).
Attached is a letter to be used by paintball player or business in contacting a MP or other contact regarding this issue. Please place on your letterhead, update the date, and personalize the letter (or email) to the person you are addressing. It is important to keep this as professional as possible. Time is of the essence. Please do not delay in writing your letters. Please contact other paintball businesses in your area (even if they are competitors) and work together. A list of people who should receive a letter follows. REMEMBER, letters to MP's in Ottawa DO NOT require postage!
* Your local MP(s) (Liberal or otherwise), this website has all their addresses
* Honorable Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry,
* Honorable Anne McLellan, Minister of
Justice and Attorney
* Canadian Firearms Centre
If you are an American manufacturer, distributor, or store and have Canadian customers, please feel free to pass this note along to them.
Business Letter - Microsoft Word (Shift-Click to save)
Player Letter - Microsoft Word (Shift-Click to save)
Thanks to the following people for their
input and suggestions thus far:
Thank you in advance for your assistance. Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to call or write.
Michael J. Ratko
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