October 16, 2014 - 11:52 AM
KELOWNA – A robbery by five masked teenagers armed with airsoft replica pistols and bats has sparked a reaction from the local airsoft community.
The teens were caught and arrested following the mugging of a group of young people earlier this month and they face robbery charges.
Anthony Forster with Airsoft Kelowna says people under the age of 18 should not have airsoft replicas. He says his club strictly enforces the rule and points out those involved in the robbery are not members.
“The club doesn’t condone the illegal use of airsoft replica weapons or even the purchase of them by minors,” Forster says. He points out they are not toys.
“We really want to make it clear to the public we do not support minors owning airsoft replicas. It’s really not safe.”
He says parents are not acting responsibly if they allow their underage kids to buy the replicas without proper safety precautions like eye protection, safe play areas and strict, adult supervision.
“It’s illegal to discharge an airsoft gun within city limits,” Forster adds.
Parents bring kids who want to play the war games to the Kelowna club all the time. He says the administrators have to say no, “they have to wait until they are 18.”
An airsoft replica weapon is a BB gun that looks exactly like a real firearm and operates like a real firearm, which is part of the appeal to airsoft military simulation players.
They are similar in concept to paintball guns, but very different in their look and operation.
“Paintball gun looks like a refugee from a plumbing shop.” Forster says. “They fire a 6 millimetre plastic, biodegradable ball. It hurts less than a paintball, but it still hurts a little bit.”
The airsoft guns are mostly sold through companies on the Internet, although there is a local company called Modern Combat, which is run part-time by a Kelowna Airsoft member.
The 250 members play on crown land off Postill Lake Road they call 4K Field. The club has good relationship with the RCMP and the Ministry of Forests, he says.
In September some of the members got together to clean up the crown land they use and call 4K Field. He says they hauled away all kinds of junk including car parts.
Members of Kelowna Airsoft gather for a photo during their simulated military games at 4K Field off Postill Road north of Kelowna.
Image Credit: Facebook/Modern Combat
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