Thursday, June 30, 2011

California SB798 defeated

• SB 798, which would have required that all BB and pellet guns — including those legally used for hunting wild turkey and small game — be manufactured with brightly colored exteriors to help identify them as “toy” guns.

This bill was defeated in the Assembly Public Safety Committee by a 2-5 vote.

Passage of the measure would have resulted in a loss of hunting opportunity and wrongly encouraged children to treat air guns like toy guns, creating significant safety issues

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

CA Senate Bill 798 Does Not Pass Out of Committee

Chris Raehl of the NCPA noted in an email to 68Caliber (and in a comment below) that the inclusion of the NCPA in the list of organizations opposed to SB 798 is incorrect. The NCPA currently has no formal position on the bill. (Best guest is that the name was not removed from the list as it should have been prior to publication.)

(Original article begins here)

Yesterday the public safety commission voted on the bill and it failed to pass out of committee on a vote of 5 to 2.

That was the amended version of SB 798, which had exempted paintball guns from the legislation, leaving only airsoft in potential trouble.

Airsoft agitators were pretty miffed when the California Paintball Safety Coalition (KEE Action Sports, Tippmann, DYE, Kingman, Giant Paintball/Hollywood Sports, and Mercury Public Affairs) got the bill’s sponsors to exempt paintball guns (projectiles over 10mm), proclaiming that paintball had thrown airsoft under the bus (and threatening not to assist paintball in the future in retaliation).

Yesterday, the 21st, the CA committee voted on whether to pass the bill (as amended) out of committee. From the pictures provided on PyramydAir blog, it looks like about almost a dozen airsofters showed up to protest (so much for grassroots organizing on that end).

The bill did not pass, but is scheduled for a future hearing. Most pundits suspect that legislators are waiting in the hopes that opposition will grow tired. (With only two major airsoft sites, a couple of blogs and a couple of facebook pages agitating, those legislators may very well be right.)

What is most interesting is that there appears to be a rift within the paintball opposition, a rift that was presaged by a message from the CPSC requesting that any interested paintball parties should work through them instead of approaching the California legislature on their own.

The “divide” may (stress may) be revealed by the list of non-governmental organizations that registered as either for or against the Bill:

Alameda Police Department
California Paintball Safety Coalition
Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department
Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles School Police Department
Mayor, City of Los Angeles
Sacramento Police Department
Women Against Gun Violence


Airgun Information International
California Association of Firearms Retailers
California Outdoor Heritage Alliance
California Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc.
Crossman Corporation
Gamo Outdoor USA
Gun Owners of California
KWA Performance Industries, Inc.
National Collegiate Paintball Association
National Rifle Association
National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc.
San Marino Police Department
SoftAir USA
S/R Industries, Inc.
Umarex USA, Inc.
Velocity Paintball
388 private individuals

Umarex is the company that was a party to the H&K trademark infringement lawsuits against companies like like Tippmann and Empire Battle Tested over MP-5 name and look infringement.
Crosman is mostly out of paintball but used to be in it big; the NCPA is probably under pressure from their constituency (how long before they start a Collegiate Airsoft league?) and Velocity paintball has been very vocal about the negative impact the bill will have on their local business.

The CPSC was formed by some of the heaviest hitters in the industry.

For what it’s worth, it is 68Caliber’s opinion that the CPSC made the correct tactical moves in fighting the bill: their job was to protect paintball and they found a way to differentiate paintball and airsoft, found an opening and used it. Was that throwing airsoft under the bus? Not when you consider the CPSC’s mandate.

It’s not moot; the bill will be under reconsideration in August, but for now, paintball doesn’t have to worry about it.

Airsoft Safety Foundation Casts Paintball As the Bad Guy

The Airsoft Safety Foundation published a press release regarding CA SB 798 a few days prior to the bill’s failure to pass out of committee. The statement can be read in its entirety here.

Among other things the release said were:

“Federal law requires airsoft type guns to have orange muzzles, only. It completely exempts paintball, BB and pellet guns from any coloration in recognition of the fact that they are relatively powerful and should be treated as being potentially dangerous.

Curiously, SB 798 was recently amended to exempt paint ball (sic) guns from the proposed state coloration requirement while still mandating that the potentially more dangerous BB guns and pellet guns be colored like toys.”


“…thus giving the paint ball (sic) industry a competitive advantage in the marketplace…”


“Exempting paintball guns from SB 798 would have comparatively little impact on the economic and job losses that would be suffered as a result of the bill”


“SB 798 has been promoted as a public safety bill, but in view of the paint ball gun (sic) amendment, it can no longer be touted as a safety measure. It has become, instead, a bill that would favor paint ball (sic) guns in the marketplace by requiring their competitors to be colored like toys.”

Emphasis ours.

You can read the entire missive here.

No big surprise. Now the war is on – which sport can vilify the other the most effectively in front of the CA legislature.

Airsoft can squirm all it wants to, but the fact remains that airsoft guns are made to look like real firearms and most paintball guns aren’t' at least half of the paintball guns out there ALREADY come in bright colors.

There’s also the impression issue to consider: paintball managed to divorce itself from the military wannabe connection in a deliberate bid for public acceptance and managed that admirably (just look at all of the positive mass media portrayals over the past 15 years). Airsoft, on the other hand, seems to want to embrace the connection.

And after all this time, Air Soft Safety Foundation, you’d think you’d learn how to spell paintball’s name right, wouldn’t you?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hearing On SB798 Today. Will The Politicians Get It?

The airsoft industry and community in California, together with the paintball community, and the paintball industry (who are crossing their fingers that the exemptions for their own would go unnoticed in the Committee during the hearing), will be gearing up today for the hearing on CA SB798 by the Committee on Public Safety. Last night, the airsoft community had a pep rally to increase the morale and determination of the community that the bill gets defeated.

The airsoft industry and community in California, together with the paintball community, and the paintball industry (who are crossing their fingers that the exemptions for their own would go unnoticed in the Committee during the hearing), will be gearing up today for the hearing on CA SB798 by the Committee on Public Safety. Last night, the airsoft community had a pep rally to increase the morale and determination of the community that the bill gets defeated.

Why Paintball Got Exempted? Is It Through Good Reasoning or Plain Political and Personal Connections?

One significant story written by Kimberly Dvorak for the Examiner gives us information on how paintball came to be exempted by Senator Kevin De Leon from SB798, which doesn't make sense as there are many paintball markers that look like replica firearms. She writes that former Assemblyman Fabio Nuñez is a friend of state Senator Kevin de Leon. Fabio Nuñez lobbies for Mercury Public Affairs, the lobbying firm that was hired by the Paintball industry to get an exemption from SB798.

This is the same Nuñez who exploited his personal relationship with then Governator Schwarzenegger to commute the sentence of his son for murdering a fellow student.

Paintball fields in California, especially the major ones which also cater to airsoft players are still in support of the airsoft community's fight against SB798. They credit a lot to the airsoft in helping them support the business as one paintball field owner commented at the Save Paintball In California Facebook Page:

As we have written before, the Paintball players are very much in disagreement with how the Paintball Industry's turn-around in their fight against SB798, leaving airsoft hanging in the air after getting the assumption. The Facebook Page Save Paintball In California is dotted with comments by paintball players stating that airsoft and paintball should fight this bill together. Though the admin of the Facebook page thoroughly ignores the posts and have buried their "support the bill" stance in the face of such comments why the Paintball industry "sold out".

Will Brightly Colored Guns Minimize Gun Violence? We Doubt It.

Knowledgeable firearms experts have been pounding in this reasoning: it doesn't work. It will induce law enforcement officers into a false sense of security thinking that bright colored firearms are merely "toys" and would provide any criminal valuable seconds, and for the police officer, a second too late to react. Real steel firearms can be painted bright and thus, can be used to commit crime.

Furthermore, a study made by the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics in 1990 show that bright colored toy guns did not correlate to a decrease in children being shot by police officers.

In the same Examiner story, this entry goes:

Internationally recognized airgun expert, Dr. Robert D. Beeman Ph.D. concurred and said, “As an independent airgun expert, I oppose Senate Bill 798 because it would create a false and dangerous sense of security concerning airguns capable of serious human injury and death… It would increase accidents and incidents of serious injury and death among both the general public and police officers.” He continued to explain that, “This is primarily a behavior problem, not a product problem. Proper behavior virtually eliminates the danger attributed to such products. In any case, traditional airguns firing metallic projectiles should be exempted from SB 798 for safety reasons.”

Most of us in the airsoft and real steel firearms community know that deadly firearms can be colored bright, and people will want to shoot with duracoated "Hello Kitty" firearms, or whatever cartoon design they want on their firearms. The photo below shows how an AR-15 was turned into a cute and cuddly, harmless looking rifle

The owner of this "Hello Kitty" firearm says that it is 100% legal in California, as it complies with the restrictions in place. But now, some law enforcement organizations around the US have posted the photo of this "Hello Kitty" firearm to warn officers that they might not be able to distinguish the real ones from the "toys" and many officers would rather err on the side of caution, and might just shoot first and determine later if the gun was real or not.

We have already made the arguments on the economics of why a bill such as SB798 would be more counterproductive rather than uphold the protection of citizens. The big question is, would SB798, if signed into law, be in conflict with Federal Law? The Airsoft Industry is determined to go to court if it goes beyond the State Assembly. The Examiner article also mentioned about AB 962 which was a bill to ban mail to order ammunition sales was deemed unconstitutional.

Will this be a long drawn out battle? We hope not. It can be shortened if the airsoft and paintball communities would untiringly continue petitioning the legislators to kill SB 798. With the hearing today, we hope that airsoft and paintball would be able to present their case together to state that SB798 does not serve any purpose above existing laws and that good education of parents and children on the proper use of replica and even real steel firearms would be better. The Airsoft Safety Foundation was established for that purpose.

AirSplat spearheads the fight on SB798

Help Save Airsoft in California!

SB 798 has been put on HOLD!! BUT THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER!!

On June 21st, dedicated airsofters and airsoft retailers like AirSplat drove to the State Capitol in Sacramento to Speak out against SB 798. The Public Safety committee voted it down NO 5-2. But the author of the bill, senator Kevin De Leon, isnt finished yet. the bill has been scheduled to be reheard soon. The current Laws already provide ample protection and safeguards for players and police. Unfortunately its politicians and politics getting in the way of our honest and fun sport.

Please frequently check our website front page at for news and possible schedule changes.

What is SB798: The California Legislative is trying to pass SB Bill 798 which calls for imitation firearms, a classification which would include paintball & airsoft markers, to be brightly colored (i.e., orange) in order to distinguish them from real firearms. This is a concern to the paintball/airsoft industry as it would require all paintball/airsoft guns to be painted a bright color.

What You Can Do:

We are asking each of our leaders to please take the time to call AND email the assembly members listed below, as they are the ones in charge of SB798. Remember that YOUR JOB is at risk because of this bill, so we all need to come together as a unit to make our voices heard to the people that have control over the future of our business. Explain to these representatives that your job is at stake, an entire industry is at stake, and that they need to take all of these factors into consideration.


Step 1: Call the numbers below and introduce yourself. “Hello, my name is _________________, and I am calling regarding bill SB798.”

Step 2: Explain your position on the matter.

If You’re Under 18: “I have been a paintball (or airsoft) player for ________ years, and I feel that bill SB798 will dramatically change the sport that I love. I wanted torecommend that you please vote to reject or amend SB798.”

If You’re Over 18: “I am a voter and have been a paintball (or airsoft) player for _______ years, and I am concerned that bill SB798 will dramatically change the sport that I love. I wanted to ask you to please vote to reject or amend SB798. As a voter I will be suggesting this same course of action to my friends and family so that they too may speak up against the bill.”

If You Reach a Voicemail: Read your chosen statement above and close the message by saying “I would like someone to call me back before June 14th so that I will know that my opinion has been heard and understood. Thank you for your time.”

If you Reach a Live Person: Read your chosen statement above, and be prepared to answer any return questions that the representative on the other line my have. Here are two examples:

Question: Why are you against the bill?

Answer: “The bill is written in a way that it would have a massive negative effect on the sport. Requiring that all guns be brightly colored will take away from the fantasy experience of the game.” Note: If you or someone you give this letter to works at a paintball/airsoft company, mention that your own job is at risk, along with the jobs of thousands of other industry members.

Question: Why is coloring the guns such a problem?

Answer: I have already invested a considerable amount of time and money into my personal equipment, plus requiring them to be brightly colored will make the game less enjoyable as it will take away considerably from the fantasy aspect of the sport.

Name District Phone Email
Tom Ammiano – Chair Dem-13 916-319-2013
Steve Knight – Vice Chair Rep-36 916-319-2036
Gilbert Cedillo Dem-45 916-319-2045
Curt Hagman Rep-60 916-319-2060
Jerry Hill Dem-19 916-319-2019
Holly J. Mitchell Dem-47 916-319-2047
Nancy Skinner Dem-14 916-319-2014

For a Full PDF form of the above to email and send to others, click here Airsoft No to SB798.pdf


Letter to use to send to legislators. Please sign this and send to Senator de Leon, and your local district Senator and Representative:

Sample Letter for Your State Representative (See Link below to find your state representative)

Voice your opposition to this bill by calling or writing to your local State Senator and assemblyman and the bill sponsor, State Senator Kevin de Leon:

Locate Your Specific Senator/Assembly Member:

Please go to

Scroll down the map of California and enter your street address, city and zip code in the appropriate boxes below; click on “Find”. Your senator
and contact information will then be available.

Please take the time to make these calls and emails, as the future of our sport relies on your efforts. Thank you.

Contact Author of AB 798: Senator Kevin De Leon, State Capitol, Room 5108, Sacramento, Ca. 95814; (916) 651-4022.

Sample Letter for Senator De Leon

Sacramento Office:
Senator Kevin de Leon
California State Capitol
Room 5108
Sacramento, CA 94248

Los Angeles Office:
Senator Kevin de Leon
617 S. Olive St.
Suite 710
Los Angeles, CA 90014


1.) Contact local City Councils and County Boards of Supervisors. Explain what SB 798 does, why you oppose it and ask them to oppose it, too. Ask them to contact the local area Assembly members and urge them to oppose it.

2.)Contact local retailers that sell Airsoft, BB, and pellet guns. Explain what it does, how it could affect them (loss of sales, etc.), and ask them to oppose it.

3.)Contact local sportsmen’s clubs and organizations. Explain the bill and ask them to oppose it.

4.) Ask your family and friends to oppose SB 798, also, and to take the steps outlined herein to oppose it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Paintball Industry Now Supports California SB798. Paintball Players Disagree

The Paintball Industry in California were able to lobby and have CA SB798 amended to exempt paintball markers before it goes into a vote later this month. With this accomplished, they are now in support of Bill, to the disbelief of the US airsoft community. The California Airsoft industry has lost an ally in the campaign against SB798, but they still have the National Rifle Association to count on.

The latest amendments are as follows, courtesy of Jag Precision:

As used in Section 20165, “imitation firearm” does not include any of the following:

(1) A nonfiring collector’s replica that is historically significant, and is offered for sale in conjunction with a wall plaque or presentation case.
(2) A spot marker gun which expels a projectile that is greater than 10 mm caliber.
(3) A device where the entire exterior surface of the device is white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, or bright purple, either singly or as the predominant color in combination with other colors in any pattern, as provided by federal regulations governing imitation firearms, or where the entire device is constructed of transparent or translucent materials which permits unmistakable observation of the device’s complete contents, as provided by federal regulations governing imitation firearms.

Obviously, airsoft is left to hung in this bill, as it is below 6mm caliber. There are paintball markers that are made to look like replica firearms, such as those made by RAP4, which we can all agree that at first glance looks like a real firearm like the example photo below. Would a police officer distinguish the replica from the real deal? Would he care if it shoots out 10mm projectiles or 6mm if it's carried in public places? I think we all know the answer.

A collective disbelief has set unto the airsoft community and the California airsoft industry. People would accuse that the Paintball industry has sold out to the politicians to exempt paintball from the Bill in exchange for their support. Is it a good move? In a business sense, perhaps, since paintball is in direct competition against airsoft to cater to the recreational shooting and milsim market. Taking out airsoft would leave the big California recreational shooting and milsim market to themselves, which would be akin to selling out for 30 pieces of silver. This made a paintball player react strongly to the turn around by the Paintball industry (with unverified information) as shown by this post at the Facebook page of Save Paintball in California (Update: deleted by the admin of the FB page):

If you know what KINGMAN is, it is a paintball marker company that makes the popular Kingman Spyder Stormer .50. And what do you know? It looks like a real firearm at first glance as shown below:

The good thing is that the Paintball industry's actual customers would have none of it. They are as shocked as the airsoft community for their industry in making such a deal when they believe that both communities are in this together. In contrast with the Paintball companies, the paintball players are taking a stand together with the airsoft community in opposing SB798 since they believe that even if it exempts paintball now, will they be assured that it won't be affected in the future? With the airsoft industry and community gone, who will help the paintball community campaign against bills similar to SB798 that will affect their sport in the future.?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

LAPD seeks tighter regulations on toy guns

Chief Charlie Beck urges law requiring BB guns to be brightly colored to avoid confusion with authentic firearms.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is proposing that the city require BB-gun replicas of actual firearms to be brightly colored so that police officers don't mistake them for real weapons.

The proposal, which the Los Angeles Police Commission will consider Tuesday, comes after two shootings involving officers and people with replica weapons, including one in which a teenager was wounded. Under the new rule, all such toys sold inLos Angeles would have the "entire exterior surface of the device white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink or bright purple."

Guns would also be allowed if they were "constructed of transparent or translucent materials which permits unmistakable observation of the device's complete contents."

"This change will not ban such devices but will aid law enforcement in differentiating real firearms from BB devices and imitation firearms. It will also prevent the sales and possession of BB devices and imitation firearms in the city of Los Angeles that are similar in size and appearance to actual firearms," Beck wrote in a memo.

The guns come in various models that closely resemble real weapons such as Berettas, shotguns and pistols. Law enforcement experts say the toys can easily be mistaken for the real thing, especially in a situation in which an officer must react quickly and decisively.

On Dec. 16, three boys were playing with the guns on North Verdugo Road in Glassell Park when two LAPD officers stopped to investigate. An officer fired at one of the boys, believing the boy's gun was a real weapon, according to an LAPD news release. The boy was shot in the torso and underwent surgery.

Capt. David Lindsay, who headed the Northeast Division when the shooting occurred, said the division had faced several incidents in recent months involving toy guns, and noted that they have been taken from gang members and robbery suspects.

"It's a consistent issue for us. I saw the guns the kids had that night from a distance of 3 or 4 feet; when you first look at them, they look identical to a particular style of handgun, a Beretta 92F," Lindsay said in an interview earlier this year. He has since been transferred to a different position.

Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith said the December incident alarmed him and his staff because a local activist warned them about the toy guns several months earlier.

Les Salay, a Vietnam veteran, firearm instructor and father of three, had contacted Smith and presented him photographs of Airsoft guns that his daughter had purchased from ice cream trucks outside two schools near his family's Chatsworth home.

Salay said he had asked his daughter Ashley, 12, to try to purchase the guns because he wanted to see if vendors would sell them to her. She was able to buy several guns from the ice cream trucks, he said, two of which had warnings on them that they were intended for ages 18 and older.

"At an ice cream truck, there is no parent who can say 'no, no, no, you can't have that,' " said Salay, who also teaches gun safety to Boy Scouts. "To sell a 12-year-old girl a gun that looks like a real gun is a tragedy waiting to happen. And now it has happened."

The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance banning the sale of toy guns from ice cream trucks in 2005, but several distributors interviewed by The Times said some trucks still carry the guns.

"It's a few renegade trucks that do it," said Fred Karamati, owner of Avalon Ice Cream, a distributor in Los Angeles. He said that he no longer sells the guns to truck operators, but that they are widely available at toy wholesalers throughout the city.

Smith, who is also an LAPD reserve officer, said the guns pose a problem for police because officers typically have only seconds to react in a situation in which they believe a subject is armed. He considered a citywide ban of the replica weapons earlier this year.

"If you see something that just looks like a gun, you're going to shoot," Smith said after the Glassell Park shooting. "That's what you're trained to do. Your mind doesn't have enough time to process whether it's a real gun or a fake gun."

His office said Monday that he supported Beck's proposal.