A survey commissioned by Public Safety Canada gauging the attitudes of Canadians on firearms claimed that nearly two out of three people support restrictions on “mid-velocity” air rifles.

According to the Firearms Safety Public Awareness Campaign conducted by Ekos Research Associates Inc. 63% of Canadians “support restrictions on the sale, purchase and transfer of mid-velocity ‘replica’ air guns.” 

The survey cost taxpayers $147,363.30 and was delivered to the government on June 5, 2023. 

Today, Canadians over the age of 14 are free to buy most air guns that meet certain muzzle velocity and energy criteria and do not overtly resemble real firearms. 

The survey also claims that support for firearms measures was “generally high.” 

“About eight in ten also support the eight other measures described in the survey, and 74% indicated support for a buyback program for certain banned firearms,” reads the survey.

According to Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights VP of public relations Tracey Wilson, the Liberal government came close to including a ban on airsoft guns via Bill C-21. 

“This Ekos study is interesting because most of the information is missing; how do they know which people polled owned firearms, how did they ensure it?” Wilson told True North. 

“On the topic of airguns, Liberal Bill C-21 originally included a ban on airsoft guns which was amended in the committee stage. The airsoft community, the NDP and the CPC worked quite hard to save the sport. Law enforcement has expressed some concern over misuse by criminals, and that in the heat of the moment it is almost impossible to tell them apart from real guns, resulting in some terrible outcome.” 

Wilson said that although there are some steps that can be taken to ensure the safe use of air powered weapons, a total ban is not the solution. 

“The airsoft community seemed accepting that some regulation, storage rules, markings and education would be a benefit. In the end, the airsoft ban was amended out of the bill and will likely reappear in some regulatory changes later,” said Wilson.

“The idea that the only answer here is to ban the object is a purely Liberal philosophy, in line with how they govern the firearms file. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I think it’s reasonable to find middle ground here, if public safety is really the goal.”