Thursday, July 7, 2011

SB 798, and why you should hate it.

For those of you reading this who don't know what SB 798 is (my guess is 99 to 100% of my followers), it's a bill attempting to be passed in California to regulate replica firearms (basically, that means airsoft guns, woodsball paintball guns, ect) by making it illegal to own a toy gun painted black.  It would have to be painted a neon color.  Throughout this post I will be defending airsoft over paintball because most people associate paintball with speedball;
Speedball team
a sport where players use "Markers" (not guns) and wear colorful uniforms.  The public is less aware of it's sister sport, woodsball, which is more of a milsim-esque "realistic" game.
Woodsball team

Just because i'm not defending paintball doesn't mean it's not in danger.  Anti-gun legislators hate pretty much anything that shoots anything.  Just wait, they'll try and ban nerf guns soon too.

It all started a while back when some officers ran into three boys playing with airsoft guns (I don't know all the details, but this is the main idea of the story.) The police assumed the airsoft guns were real firearms, and therefore pulled their guns on the boys, and told them to drop their weapons, as they were trained to do.  two of the boys followed the officers orders, and 1 moron pointed his airsoft gun at a cop.  Obviously, the cop fired on the boy as he was trained to do, because he felt his life was in danger at that point.  In a direct reaction to this incident, SB 798 was born.  In theory it sounds great.  Now the officers can identify toy guns and real guns right?  Wrong.  On many levels.  Let me enlighten you.

For starters, there is already a law in place to differentiate real guns from fake guns.  A blaze orange tip no shorter than 1 inch is required by law to be on the front of any toy/replica firearm when sold. 

Secondly, nothing is stopping criminals from painting their guns neon colors.  All it takes is a can of Duracoat, and an hour of your time, and you have yourself a hot pink hello kitty killing machine that looks less threatening than a lot of toy guns.  
Want the protection and reliability of a Glock, without that awful matte black clashing with your designer purse?  Introducing the new hello kitty marpat paint job! (and yes, that is a real glock.)

If this bill were to be passed, it wouldn't solve the issue it was trying to solve.  It still wouldn't be able to fully differentiate the difference between a real gun, and a fake gun. In fact, this legislation could endanger police officers even more, because now they may assume a legitimate firearm is nothing but a crossman.  And just imagine the public outlash if a police officer accidently shot someone with one of these neon colored toy guns, because he couldn't quite see it, or something of the sort. 
So there are some holes in the bill, but what could passing it hurt?  Glad you asked.

Surprisingly, airsoft is a fairly large sport.   Many people are attracted to it over its sister sport paintball (and it's genetically superior cousin, woodsball) for realism (airsoft guns are more true to size than paintball guns due to the smaller projectiles), milsim (military simulation, for both recreational, or training purposes) and cost (a bag of 5000 .2 high quality bbs costs you about 10 dollars.  A box of 2000 paintballs can easily cost 30 dollars).  If that realism aspect of the sport is taken away, it loses its appeal for many players.  Several major airsoft retailers, including Evike, and Airsoft GI are located in California, and this bill passing would mean huge revenue losses, and lost jobs.  Airsoft in California is a 170+ million dollar industry, and as you may or may not have known, California could use some of that tax revenue. 

So what have we learned so far?  SB 798 would be an invective solution to the problem it's trying to solve, as there's no solid way to differentiate a toy gun from a real gun during the heat of the moment, especially with custom painted real steel firearms.  This bill is essentially a "feel good bill" where in theory, it sounds like the legislators are doing the right thing, but in reality more harm will be done than good.  Millions of dollars, and tons of jobs.

Also, let's be honest.  If you're dumb enough to point anything that looks like a gun at a law enforcement officer, you deserve to get shot in the teeth for being so fucking stupid.  I mean seriously.  People dumbfound me, and there are people who actually side with the kid who got shot!  The officers did exactly what they were supposed to do, and trained to do.  The kid pulled what he knew the police would assume was a real firearm, and pointed it at them.  That's kinda a big no-no

Luckily, the bill was shot down on a 5 no, 2 yes vote.  Unfortunately, it has been altered to be even more severe (basically treating airsoft guns as actual firearms in legal stuff).  Even though i don't really think it will pass, it's still concerning. 

So why do i have such a firm stance on this bill, when I generally remain neutral on pretty much every government issue? (well, not exactly neutral, but I generally don't hold extreme views, and for the most part i empathize with both sides to an extent.)  I live in Texas, so aside from some retailers i buy from being effected, i'd be safe from this feel good bill.  It's because i'm an avid airsofter myself.  Heck, I've easily spent over 500 dollars on the hobby.
Here's a photo of me being a badass at my local airsoft field.  nbd.

And if this bill passes, it's only a matter of time before it spreads to other states.  Sure, it would get to Texas last, what with all of our gun crazy red necks down here :b but it's not something i want to see done to one of my favorite hobbies.  Additionally, a huge pet peeve of mine is people making an opinion about an issue without actually looking at it from both sides, and doing a bit of actual thinking for themselves.  You know who i'm talking about.  Those people who love to spout all this talk about some current issue, repeating the same 3 points they heard on the news earlier. They never bothered to think it over for themselves, or look at it from a different point of view.  And when you challenge them, they've got nothing to back it up.  People need to think for themselves.  Huge pet peve.  

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