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Canadian Paediatric Society

Exempting all air rifles and BB guns from safe storage and transport laws puts kids at risk

May 21 2015

OTTAWA—The Canadian Paediatric Society is calling for the withdrawal of a private member’s bill that would remove penalties for unsafe storage and handling of certain firearms.

Under the Criminal Code, certain air rifles and BB guns—those which are powerful enough to cause serious injury or death—are required to be stored and transported in a safe manner. Bill C-637 would change the way these guns are categorized, and remove any requirements for safe transportation and storage.

Dr. Katherine Austin told the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that the bill is a threat to public safety that puts children and youth particularly at risk.

“Some modern day air guns and BB guns can cause serious internal injury and death,” she said [on Thursday]. “Certain of these weapons shoot a projectile only slightly less powerfully than powder firearms. They should be considered as weapons and not toys.”

Bill C-637 proposes changes to the Criminal Code that would exclude firearms with a projectile velocity of less than 500 feet per second, effectively eliminating all BB guns and air rifles from current regulations, even the very powerful ones.

“Air and BB guns with projectile velocities between 214 and 500 feet per second are so powerful that they are capable of causing brain, neck, eye, chest and abdominal trauma, and death,” said Dr. Austin. “Our current law allows for criminal penalties for a person who shows extreme disregard for safety in their manner of transporting or storing this kind of air or BB gun.”

Low-velocity air or BB guns that do not have the potential for causing serious bodily injury are not subject to the criminal regulations.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends:

  1. Air guns and BB guns capable of causing serious bodily injury should continue to be classified as firearms for the purposes of the storage and transportation clauses of the Criminal Code (86.1). This would include all air and BB guns with a projectile velocity greater than 214 feet per second.
  2. Currently there is no specific guidance for the storage and transport of guns with velocities between 214- 500 feet per second. These air and BB guns, which are powerful enough to cause serious internal damage, should have to be stored locked, unloaded and separate from their ammunition.
  3. Air and BB guns that are less powerful (under 214 feet per second) and less likely to cause serious bodily injury should be regulated through the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.



About the Canadian Paediatric Society

The Canadian Paediatric Society is a national advocacy association that promotes the health needs of children and youth. Founded in 1922, the CPS represents more than 3,300 paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists and other child health professionals across Canada.

Last updated: May 21 2015