Google AdWords to Ban Toy Guns.

This is a first for me really, having my hobbies and interests cross into my work life. Being a Web developer it’s my job to keep up to date with the latest industry news and events; while this isn’t breaking news it is something that i’ve been thinking about for a few weeks now to see how I sit with the situation. I am an avid airsfoter; what is “airsoft” I hear you say, well in very simple terms it is essentially paintballing but instead of paintballs you fire plastic BBs. It is a sport of honour as obviously you won’t have massive sploges of paint all over you. Now with this sport you are using Real Imitation Firearms (RIFs) and for obvious reasons there are certain regulations and laws. You can’t just walk in off the street and buy a RIF, you have to have valid defence to purchase such a gun unless it is coloured 51% in a bright colour (normally orange or green).

UKARA (United Kingdom Retailers Association) along with other groups such as the ABA (Association of British Airsoft) have fought successfully for an exemption to the Violent Crimes Reduction Act (VCRA). This exemption protects the sport of Airsoft by giving players a workable defence, allowing them to continue to purchase RIFs if they meet certain requirements. Airsoft sites will allow you to gain a UKARA membership only when you have proven you are a regular arisofter to the site, taking no shorter than 3 months and numerous visits to become elgible. While it is not agaisnt the law to own one it is agaisnt to the law to sell an airsoft gun to soemone that hasn’t got a valid defence.

Like with most hobbies and sports the more people that get involved the better the sport improves (on the most part) so having a ban agaisnt certain words/sports is hindering it. Airsoft is not that popular, especially in terms of its counterpart, Paintballing, so it seems a shame to not allow an airsoft retailer to promote itself through a paid campaign. Understandable on the other hand you don’t want people thinking they can go an buy a gun that looks like a legimate gun and go waving it around the street (Also agaisnt the law as these guns need to be within a case when not being used on site).

I understand why Google are moving forward with this ban and I agree with keeping these RIFs out of the hands of the wrong people as they are extremely dangerous when not used under safe conditions, however I can’t help but feel that this could damage the sport getting out there to people that probably wouldn’t have heard about it otherwise.

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