By Michele Willer-Allred Originally published 10:08 a.m., September 22, 2009
The Simi Valley City Council on Monday directed staff to look into amending the city’s municipal code to make it legal for airsoft, paint ball, and other games using firearms to be played indoors.
Under current city code, firearms are only allowed for target practice at indoor shooting ranges. No firearms can be used outdoors.
Airsoft and paint-ball guns are defined in the code as firearms because the guns use air, gas, spring-action or an electronically powered gearbox mechanism to drive a projectile.
In airsoft and paint-ball games, players use nonlethal guns to shoot plastic pellets or plastic paint balls at opponents. Since airsoft and paintball involves shooting at other players, it is not allowed under current city code.
City officials said airsoft and paint-ball guns were not envisioned when the city’s regulations for firearms were established in 1981. They have since become a popular entertainment activity at facilities in the city.
The amendments to the code would allow airsoft and paint-ball gaming indoors with a conditional use permit.
Douglas Mitchell of True Edge, which sells airsoft guns and products in the Conejo Valley, said he is in favor of requiring airsoft and paint-ball gaming indoors because it offers a safer, more controlled environment.
Councilman Glen Becerra said he had concerns with amending the code because children would be banned from playing outside with toys such as Nerf dart guns, even if they have adult supervision. City staff will be exploring options regarding outdoor use of these toys.
City staff is also looking into easing the permit application process so organizations can have bow and arrow target range shooting without seeking council approval.