In Canada, there are a variety of laws and regulations that govern the storage, display, handling, and transportation of both real and replica firearms. Often, these laws and regulations can be confusing and difficult to decipher because of provincial and municipal variations and the constantly shifting landscape of Canadian firearm legislation.
Recently, there has been increased scrutiny on the display, transport, and carry of airsoft and other replica firearms through public spaces in Canada. Tragically, people have lost their lives due to replicas being mistaken for real firearms. Fortunately, this type of tragedy is completely avoidable.
The best way to make sure you stay on the right side of the law when carrying or transporting your airsoft guns is to play it safe and always rely on common sense. Here are a few tips that can help you navigate the handling of your replicas:
Always stay informed of the laws governing replicas where you live and where you play.
While there are federal regulations in place, regional and local governments also have a say in when and where replica firearms can be displayed and discharged. Make sure you know the rules, and be aware that they could change at any time. Take nothing for granted, as different layers of law enforcement may be more or less informed when it comes to your right to transport replica firearms.
Always transport your airsoft guns in non-transparent travel cases/bags.
Some of the most tragic instances of mistaken firearm identity have involved weapons that were being openly carried without a case or bag. While use of a proper non-transparent case/bag is often required due to legislation and local regulations, it also just makes sense in order to avoid raising suspicion or putting people on edge about what you are carrying. You are legally allowed to transport your airsoft guns in Canada, and these types of non-transparent cases/bags help avoid raising unnecessary and unwanted attention.
Honesty is always the best policy.
If you are ever confronted by authorities about what you are carrying or transporting, be honest about having an airsoft gun in your possession. If you are following the rules, you should have nothing to worry about. However, if you happen to be caught transporting a replica improperly, being honest about having a replica in your possession is still the best policy. You may be issued a fine or have the firearm confiscated, but you will avoid the unpleasant and dangerous situation of having your firearm mistaken for a lethal weapon.
When in doubt, don’t bring it out.
Most of the problems that arise in relation to the display and carry of replica firearms have to do with these firearms showing up in public at the wrong place at the wrong time. The best way to avoid mistaken firearm identification is to never display your airsoft firearms in a public place where they might be deemed suspicious. Never carry/display an airsoft gun near a school, in public parks, near government buildings, or anywhere else it could be mistakenly identified as a real firearm. Law enforcement officials have a difficult job as it is, and the added decision making of trying to decide whether an object that appears to be a firearm poses a real threat is problematic, at best.
Airsoft guns and other replicas are meant for personal use and enjoyment. They shouldn’t be the cause of public concern or disturbance, and God forbid their presence results in personal injury or loss of life. By being smart, proactive, and safe in all your handlings of these types of firearms, you should never run into these sorts of issues.
Ultimately, when it comes to safely transporting airsoft guns in Canada, the most important thing is to use good old common sense. Always follow the laws and regulations governing the transport and use of these types of replica weapons, and always handle airsoft guns and other replicas with the sensitivity and care they deserve.