Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canadian Paintball Laws


Too often, new players in Canada are unaware of the laws governing paintball. This is due to inaccessible legal information on the government's part, and the existence of many grey areas. For prospective milsim players, an added complication is thrown in with markers and devices that try to mimic or even replicate real firearms and accessories.

Disclaimer: I am not an authority, legal or otherwise. I will not be held responsible for any criminal/negligent/boneheaded action on your part. For hard, firm and official laws contact your municipal, provincial or federal government.

Replicas: Any paintballer marker/launcher that is a 1:1 scale replica of an authentic firearm/launcher is illegal to import into Canada. It is legal to purchase a replica marker within Canada. 

Examples of replica markers/launchers include: Many of the RAP4 .43 markers (e.g. P99 RAM), and any M203 replica.

Silencers/suppressors: Any modification that allows you to temporarily modify the volume of the sound output by a paintball marker is prohibited. Furthermore, charges may be laid against you. This is because any non-permanent suppressor (e.g. a barrel attachment) that allows you to reduce your paintball marker's loudness could potentially do the same for a real firearm.

Criminal use of paintball markers: If you strike someone with a paintball that did not consent to be fired upon, you may be charged with "Assault with a Weapon" and face up to ten years in prison. The same applies for threatening to harm someone with a paintball marker.

TC stamp: Any compressed air tank used for the sport of paintball must possess a valid TC (Transport Canada) stamp to be legally transported across official borders in Canada. This includes provincials borders, and the U.S./Canada border (for U.S. laws, search for DOT stamps on google). Any tank that is found to not have a TC stamp will be seized at said border.

Hydrostatic testing: For a paintball tank to be filled, it must have a valid and current hydrostatic testing stamp.

Age restrictions: There is no age restriction on who can play paintball in Canada. However, most retailers will not sell a paintball marker or accessory to someone under the age of 18. In addition to this, fields require minors to have written parental consent before playing.

Paintball on Crown Land: This is a large grey area. It can be legal (but not in all cases), but isn't always a good idea. The best way to find out if you can play on Crown Land is to contact both your local police and the RCMP.

Paintball on private property: What you do on your private property is your own business... until you endanger the safety or well being of others. Once again, contact your local police and talk it over with them first, and make sure that you have consent from every party involved (this includes the landowner, participants, neighbours and the community).


Update to private propery (March 21st) for Ottawa readers: The City of Ottawa by-law definition of "firearm" is a lot more lax than the Firearms Act definition. Under Ottawa By-Laws a paintball gun is considered a "firearm". Generally a resident is forbidden from discharging a firearm anywhere in the urban limits, but in the rural limits there are areas where there are excepted. There's a map in existence that shows the areas where firearms by-laws don't apply, and your local city of Ottawa service centre could provide it to you. But generally if you're in Kanata or Gloucester and start to play "backyard ball", Ottawa Police or by-law services will come knocking on your door shortly (depending on how paranoid your neighbours are about PB markers, or how annoyed they get by the sounds). Posted by Mike Gatti


Paintball on public property: Illegal unless organized through the governing body.

Liability as a promoter: As a promoter of a paintball game, you are potentially liable for any injury that occurs during play. This is true even if the players have signed waivers.

Sources:
Canadian Criminal Code
Firearms Act
Importing a Firearm or Weapon Into Canada (CBSA)

If I have missed anything or you disagree with anything that I've said, please comment here or email me at Connor@GreyOps.net.

2 comments:

  1. Just a heads-up for the private property section, for Ottawa readers: The City of Ottawa by-law definition of "firearm" is a lot more lax than the Firearms Act definition. Under Ottawa By-Laws a paintball gun is considered a "firearm". Generally a resident is forbidden from discharging a firearm anywhere in the urban limits, but in the rural limits there are areas where there are excepted. There's a map in existence that shows the areas where firearms by-laws don't apply, and your local city of Ottawa service centre could provide it to you. But generally if you're in Kanata or Gloucester and start to play "backyard ball", Ottawa Police or by-law services will come knocking on your door shortly (depending on how paranoid your neighbours are about PB markers, or how annoyed they get by the sounds).

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