California Paintball Safety Coalition – Dealer Letter
The Honorable Kevin De Leon
Room ____Sacramento, CA 94249-____RE: California Senate Bill 798
The Honorable ____________,My name is ___________________ and I am the Owner / Manager of ___________________, which operates a / several paintball facility / facilities in State city / region of California. I have over __ years of experience operating paintball fields and retail establishments. Recently, I became aware of a new bill in the California legislature that will hurt the paintball industry. The bill to which I am referring is SB 798 which relates to the classification and treatment of “imitation firearms.” I am writing to inform you of how this bill will negatively impact my business, employment and California tax revenues without solving the issues that the bill is trying to address.
The bill calls for imitation firearms, a classification which would include paintball markers, to be brightly colored (e.g., orange) in order to distinguish them from real firearms.
Paintball markers are already different from real firearms in appearance. Specifically, paintball markers are not operable unless they have an attached hopper (where the paintballs are stored) and an attached air / CO2 tank. In addition, markers already come with existing warnings, the first of which is “This is not a toy.” Changing the color of a paintball marker would not have changed the behavior of the young man injured in the December 2010 incident. In fact, requiring markers to be brightly colored could simply encourage criminals to paint real firearms and could put the public and police officers in more danger. Further, making paintball markers brightly colored would make them look more like toys, which could lead users to treat them as toys, rather than giving paintball markers the respect they deserve, which could put themselves or others in danger.
Following is an image of a paintball marker with a hopper and tank attached. You can see from the picture below that this is very distinctive from a real firearm.
Impact on Paintball in California
This proposed legislation would lead to a dramatic decline in paintball participation in California. Paintball consumers are looking for the “video game experience,” which requires that the markers be darker and more mil-sim in appearance. Removing this aspect from our products would effectively kill our industry, as forcing consumers to use unattractive markers would cause them to lose interest in continuing with the sport.
On an employment level, there are ___ jobs at stake within my company alone if SB 798 is approved in the Assembly and approved by Governor Brown. We employ a wide variety of local community residents at our facilities. It will be impossible to avoid layoffs of the majority of my staff if the new restrictions in SB 798 are implemented as written.
In addition, industry-wide paintball sales and participation at fields generates significant taxable income to state and local governments. With more than 500,000 participants annually in California, sales tax receipts alone are as high as $3 - $5 million annually for paintball related businesses, not to mention corporate and personal income taxes generated through the operation of these businesses. Finally, the industry has two large paintball marker companies headquartered in California.
I strongly urge you to modify the proposed legislation to modify SB 798 to maintain the current exemption for paintball markers provided that the markers are required to be transported in a gear bag at all times when not in use.
Paintball is a significant industry and the damage to the industry and to California revenues would be significant without some modification of the proposed legislation. I would happy to discuss any questions or concerns that you have. Thank you for your consideration.
[Store / Field Name]
[Voter registration number]