The CPSC’s Proposed Direct Final Rule On Imitation Firearms Might Affect Airsoft In The U.S.A.

Gungho Cowboy

CPSC Direct Final Rule in Docket No. CPSC-2023-0021

The U.S. Airsoft community’s battles in preventing any regulation or law that will put the hobby/sport in jeopardy in recent years have been mainly at the state level. But this minor regulatory change may endanger the sport at the federal level and thus needs attention and action of all U.S.-based airsoft players and businesses from all states.

The regulatory change in question is the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) proposed Direct Final Rule in Docket No. CPSC-2023-0021. It’s a lengthy document but Pyramyd Air took time to condense it for easier understanding for all those concerned:

CPSC regulation changes to airsoft & airguns

Change in the agency overseeing regulations related to airguns from the Department of Commerce to the Consumer Products Safety Commission. This was one of those small paragraphs a few in Congress injected into much larger "must pass" legislation late last year. Following up on that change, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has now posted what they consider as minor changes in the regulations related to identification and marking of certain products that are nested in our industry. Attached is the regulation change lifted from the Federal Register.

A key point to note is the "process" being used to make this regulation change. Normally, regulation changes move through a fairly drawn-out review process dictated by the Administrative Procedure Act. However, when an agency determines that the proposed rule change is non-substantive, they can avoid the lengthy public review by using the Direct Final Rule Process. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has made such a determination with their proposed action. Therefore, this regulation change was not noticed ahead of time and the opportunity to comment ends on June 12 and the changes are effective on June 26.

  • While the Consumer Products Safety Commission has regulatory authority over all airgun products, this regulatory change does not impact the statutory exemptions for traditional B-B, paintball and pellet firing airguns.
  • The change does impact the airsoft industry and may impact other new and emerging industry sectors such as foam-blasters and gel pellets - since these industry sectors do not enjoy the exemption previously mentioned.
  • Since the airsoft industry has nentity, subject to the requirement that their product be "certified" by an independent certification entity; and since those that might certify these products have to be approved by the agency, it is an error in thinking to suggest that this rule change is non-substantive and impractical to think that the rule can be fully implemented by June 26.
  • This is justification to request that this proposed rule change be removed from this fast-track process and provided the full public notice and comment process afforded through the Administrative Procedure Act.
  • Per the CPSC, the certification requirements under the regulations under the Imitation Firearms Act now apply to airsoft guns.

If you need a video to understand the issue, PewDieRy Airsoft interviews industry veteran Michael Lukas to discuss the implications of this and are calling on the community to take action before it’s too late since deadline for comments on the regulation change is just a few days from today:

Evike.com, the biggest airsoft business in North America is very much aware of this and has been working on mobilising customers and airsoft groups, and this is what they see with the change:

CPSC Direct Final Rule in Docket No. CPSC-2023-0021 02

If you are resident of U.S. and want to oppose this or give your comments, the airsoft community have already come out with statements/comments that you can go over and submit to the CPSC before the deadline. If enough comments have been received, the CPSC may remove it from fast tracking the proposed rule change and sit down with the community and industry to discuss the ways in order to ensure that regulation will not endanger the sport as it will affect the livelihood of those in the industry as well as leave tens of thousands of airsoft players unable to play their sport/hobby.

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