In an interesting turn of events, it seems that the Paintball industry has more effective lobbyists than the Airsoft industry. They have not only been able to get Senator Kevin de Leon's SB 798 bill amended to exclude paintball markers from being classified as "imitation firearms," but according to one of the primary Paintball-related SB 798 Facebook pages, they are now SUPPORTING the bill, substantiated by their most recent status update (at the time I wrote this) where they say this:
"Thanks to all the manufacturers, dealers, fields and of course, the fans of this page, Bill SB 798 will be amended to NOT include paintball markers. The amended bill will be heard by the Assembly’s public safety committee at a hearing scheduled for June 21. The amended bill is posted on the left side of this page. Again thanks to all for your support; it was great to see the paintball community make a difference."
But my favorite (*sarcasm*) is this one:
Click to Read More After the Jump
"To be sure the bill passes, we are now asking that people in Senator de Leon’s district thank him for working with the paintball industry to save paintball in California. You can email the Senator directly at http://sd22.senate.ca.gov/ and then click on the right side email button. Again, thanks for your great support."
"TO BE SURE THE BILL PASSES"?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Are you serious, Paintball industry? Congrats, I guess. Heaven forbid you simply continue to oppose the bill altogether like the rest of us. Obviously, Airsoft is the underdog here, but at one point, we were all on the same side of this.
I'm not mad they got SB 798 amended to exclude them. That's fine and makes sense. Paintball markers look too ridiculous to be considered imitation firearms. But to turn around and then advocate SUPPORT for the bill, knowing darn well that it would knock Airsoft out of the picture? Would someone please call Matlock? Paintball lost its vertebral column and needs some help to relocate it.
The fight is far from over. We ARE making a difference. If you haven't done so already, head on over to Pyramyd Air's page and fill out the super handy form they've created, which will effectively create a petition letter that they will send to the California Senators & Assembly Members on your behalf, stating your opposition. For those of you, like me, who hate having to mail stuff for whatever reason, Pyramyd Air could not have made it any easier.
Literally thousands have already filled it out, and if you're anything like me, you probably don't like feeling left out of the cool club. So just fill out the info they ask for (it's cool, it's not a conspiracy so no need to break out the tin foil hats) and consider yourself initiated into the "In Crowd" of people opposed to SB 798.
In case you're not sure where to find the amended text of the legislation, have no fear, I've got your six. The most recent amendments have been italicized for your convenience.
If you have the ability to take a day off from your day job, assuming you don't already work in the Airsoft industry, head to Sacramento, CA, and attend the next Public Safety Committee Meeting, which has been rescheduled to June 21st. There are rumors floating around that certain "pro-Senator de Leon" entities are trying to mitigate our efforts to show up and oppose the bill in any great mass. There are several organizations sponsoring free bus trips or coordinating convoys to the meeting.
If you can't make it out in person, there's still plenty you can do. We need to focus on the Public Safety Committee members in the California Assembly whom we have yet to receive support on this. We already have two on our side: Assembly Members Knight and Hagman are down with our cause. Thus, it would seem logical to focus our efforts on contacting and convincing (in a professional and polite manner), the five other members of the Public Safety Committee. Their contact information is as follows:
Tom Ammiano - Chair: Dem-13
Gilbert Cedillo: Dem-45
Jerry Hill: Dem-19
Holly J. Mitchell: Dem-47
Nancy Skinner: Dem-14
"Polite and Professional" is the name of the game, guys and gals. We can win this.