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An Open Letter from Airsoft CT to Parents – Preventing Tragedies

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An Open Letter from Airsoft CT to Parents

This letter is addressed to any parent whose son or daughter has shown an interest in airsoft.  While this site openly promotes airsoft safety, airsoft sportsmanship and honorable play as well as airsoft stores and airsoft fields, we keep seeing avoidable tragedies in the news.   We need your help to ensure that your children do not end up the next tragedy due to law enforcement mistaking an airsoft gun for a real firearm.

Airsoft Related Tragedies in the News

Airsoft Tragedy

While the following articles do not portray airsoft guns being used in an appropriate fashion, they do portray young teenagers showing a fatal lack of judgment in several regards.

Jamie Gonzalez, Age 15  Killed – January 4th, 2012

Chris Penley, Age 15, Killed – January 13th, 2006

15 Year old Student Arrested in Seymour High School – November 30th 2011

4 Teenagers Arrested for Shooting at a Police Officers House – July 28th 2011

Teenagers shooting random people in Derby – August 2, 2011

A short search on the web would likely find more examples of poor judgment and lack of respect for people and firearms.   The point of this letter is to keep your children out of the news papers, jail, and, God willing, the cemetery due to improper use of an airsoft gun.  Airsoft guns are illegal for purchase for those under 18 years of age in Connecticut.  To be sold, airsoft guns are required to have an orange tip on them.  After the sale, those tips are no longer required, and once removed or painted over, airsoft guns look like authentic firearms.

How Airsoft is Viewed by the General Public and Law Enforcement

Police officers cannot tell the difference between airsoft replicas and real firearms until they have an airsoft gun in their hands.  In most cases, there is no outward indication that these are replica firearms which fire plastic bb’s, not bullets.   Held in an improper environment (anywhere but a legal airsoft field) they are deemed a threat.  Ordinary citizens will (rightfully) call the police at the sight of one, and police will treat them as a real firearm, with use of deadly force authorized in the event that the child does not cooperate with the officer’s commands.  After a rash of school shootings worldwide in recent years, police are particularly responsive when one is discovered on school grounds.

Due to the articles above, law-makers have actively pursued legislation in at least three states attempting to limit or flat out ban airsoft sales.  Every time this occurs, it takes a massive effort of the airsoft community to get them put down.  Most of the time, the laws are overzealous and lack merit, thus being defeated on those grounds, but rest assured, more and more will spring up with every headline made due to poor choices of individuals.

Examples:

New Jersey Senate Bill SN810

California Senate Bill  SB798

 

Your Children ARE Interested in Firearms

If you’re reading this, chances are that your child is curious or interested in firearms.  Perhaps you’re not, but if they are, you may as well get involved in ensuring that the pursuit of their interest is under appropriate guidance, especially if you plan to purchase, or if they already have airsoft guns.  With out this guidance, they are free to form their own ideas on where and how these airsoft guns can be used and shown.   As the examples in this article point out, those choices can have deadly ramifications.  Here’s how you teach them to handle airsoft guns responsibly.

Sign up for a Firearms Safety Course

You will find no better way to satisfy a child’s curiosity than to provide them with first-hand training in how to respect and use firearms.  The video games and movies they are accustomed to is a far cry from the sound, physical impacts and other sensory impacts a real firearm has when fired.  This is often a real eye opener for most kids.   Weapons, even bb guns and airsoft guns, require the utmost care and respect when it comes to usage and you’ll find no better instruction than with an certified NRA instructor.   I’d recommend that parents speak with an instructor and schedule some course time with their children.  It will provide a great family experience as well as provide a solid foundation for future handling of any firearm. For information on selecting an instructor, check out CT Gun Safety.com.  Most of these courses are designed to qualify citizens for their pistol permits, however, the training in fire arms safety provided applies to all fire arms.

Attend Airsoft 101 Courses and “Young Guns” Games

While the airsoft season now runs year round, these events were generally considered the season openers.   Every year, there are Airsoft 101 courses which are held before a scenario game that are used to teach new players the basics in proper etiquette, sportsmanship and honor on the field.  These courses also teach the importance of the various safety gear required for airsoft as well as why they should always play on a legal and insured airsoft field.   Once the course is over, the players are sent into a scenario based airsoft event and allowed to go head to head with the opposing team, utilizing their new found skills.   This not only reinforces safety rules, but builds confidence and introduces them to the community as a player that cares about the game being played safely.

Other Airsoft Courses

Throughout the year, various groups (with military, security and law enforcement backgrounds) teach other courses, further reinforcing those skills learned in Airsoft 101.

Play WITH your Child

I love nothing more than seeing a parent out on the field playing airsoft with their child.  Even more-so for the parents that also bring and watch their kid’s friends.  My hats go off to you for your involvement in your kids lives.  Those kids are often some of the most courteous, and well behaved people on the field, due to having the watchful eye of a parent not far from them.  Fact of the matter is this sport, while intended for adults, has about 50% of its players at games under the age of 18.   While behavioral issues, including unsafe or abusive behavior, can occur with any age group, we find more instances of it with excitable and hormone driven youth.  Having parents on site usually keep that in check.  Bringing your children to the legal fields also shows them that there is a proper place and time to use airsoft guns.

How to Deal with Airsoft Guns in Your Home.

Deal with airsoft guns the way you would deal with any firearm when not in use; LOCK THEM UP.   Keep them under lock and key when not used and monitor their usage when they are not locked up.  Unless you’re working on an airsoft gun, there is no reason to have it out of lock-up unless you plan on taking it to an airsoft event or store for repair.

Purchase Gun Cases for Airsoft Gun Transport

Do Not allow your child out the door with an exposed airsoft gun.   Gun cases can be purchased at airsoft stores, firearms stores and most sporting good stores for under 20 dollars.  These cases provide a safe, and protected way to transport the airsoft guns, and can be locked with a padlock.

In Closing:

At airsoft games and online, we, as a community are constantly trying to preserve our sport by constantly pushing safety gear and best practices.  The Connecticut Airsoft Community has seen very few airsoft injuries and has had no major incidents with law enforcement, but there are those that lay outside our reach.  There are those individuals that do not play at legal fields, have no intention of playing this as a sport and lack the judgment to use airsoft guns in a safe and controlled environment.  We need YOUR HELP, to ensure that this is curbed.   Please, help us, help your kids not suffer from an unfortunate life event and enjoy airsoft safely.

-Airsoft CT