Pellet guns potentially deadly, yet unregulated

October 23, 2008

OTTAWA – Following the tragic death of a 13-year old boy in British Columbia , Canadians have once again been reminded of the hazards posed by pellet guns and other “toy” firearms.

Shockingly, the Hazards Products Act does not regulate these items – so while even stuffed toys are regulated, inherently dangerous pellet guns continue to be widely available.

“There is absolutely no reason why pellet guns or air guns should not fall under the purview of that act,” says Jack Smith, president of the Canada Safety Council. “Other potentially dangerous toys, such as lawn darts, have already been banned under the Hazardous Products Act.”

Air and pellet guns are a leading cause of eye loss and eye damage in children and young adults. More than 50 young people are hospitalised each year in Canada as a result of injuries from pellet and air guns.

While firearms legislation does cover guns capable of firing a projectile over 152.4 meters (500 feet) per second, any guns which fire at or below this velocity are available for purchase at many retail stores. Ballistics tests have shown a pellet fired at 182 meters (600 feet) per second is capable of killing an adult or child.

Another serious concern is the use of replica or “toy” firearms in criminal activity. Clearly, the victims of such crimes are not in a position to judge if the weapon they see is real or not. And, tragically, police have been mobilized to respond to such instances and in some cases have used deadly force in response to suspects wielding replica weapons.

“Bringing the manufacture and sale of pellet guns under the authority of the Hazardous Products Act would provide a measure of regulation and be an important step in protecting Canadians,” says Mr. Smith.

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For more information, please contact:

Communications/Media Program Coordinator, Canada Safety Council
(613) 739-1535 Ext. 228